School Zones Active– Back To School Safety Tips

The summer is coming to an end and the school year will soon begin. School will be back in session for Garden City Public Schools on Monday, August 31, and for students this means the excitement of meeting new teachers, making new friends and the opportunity to learn new things. However, for drivers it means more traffic on city roadways.  Garden City Public Schools and the Garden City Police Department (GCPD) would like to remind drivers to be mindful and cautious as more students will be on city streets in the coming weeks. Drivers are reminded not to text or talk on cell phones; to slow down in school zones; to be aware of students; and to always pay attention to school buses and crossing guards.

Garden City Public Schools and the GCPD would like to provide back to school safety tips for drivers and students for the upcoming school year. Superintendent Steven Karlin shared, “We all play a very important role in keeping all of our students safe. We urge parents to drive safely as they are dropping off and picking up their children at school and to pay attention to students who are walking and biking to and from school. It is a top priority for the school district to keep all of our students safe.”

Before classes begin parents are encouraged to review the drop-off procedures for their child’s school.  When you are in a school zone remember:

·Don’t double park – it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.

·Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school.

·Carpool it reduces the number of vehicles at the school.

Garden City Chief of Police Mike Utz stated, “School zones will be active in our community when school starts.  Remember to slow down and stay alert for students especially in the school zone areas and around our schools.  Also be aware of school buses as they pickup and drop-off students.  We want our students to be safe as they travel to and from school each day.”

Here are some easy to remember back to school driving safety tips:

1.Slow Down! All schools have reduced speed zones around them. The speed limit in all school zones is 20 mph.Remember to obey all traffic laws and speed limits, both in school zones and in neighborhoods around schools. 

2.Allow More Time. As the new school year begins, allow yourself enough time to get to your destination, until you learn the effects of the increased traffic.

3.Stay Alert! Make a mental note of any new/existing bus stops or students walking to and from school.

4. Learn the Rules. Schools usually have places for parents to drop-off and pickup children. If you are driving your child to school, learn where these areas are and follow the procedures. If you need to, contact the individual schools and ask where you can park your vehicle so traffic can continue to move smoothly.

5.Stop for School Buses. Stop when the red lights are flashing on school buses. It is against the law to pass a school bus when the lights are on. Do not proceed until the school bus resumes motion and the lights stop flashing. Never pass a bus from behind or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road.

6. Use a What If Strategy. What if that child darts out in front of me? What if that car stops short? Remember young children are not able to accurately determine the speed of an oncoming vehicle and may take risks crossing the street. Use the “what if” strategy to keep you alert.

7.Yield to Pedestrians. When a pedestrian is in a crosswalk they have the right-of-way. Always stop for a crossing guard holding a stop sign and obey their signs.

8.Watch for Children. Pay attention and watch for children walking or bicycling in areas near schools and bus stops.

9. Talk with Teen Drivers. Remind your teen drivers about the importance of being extra careful in and around school zones.

Many students walk to and from school.

Here are some simple reminders for parents to share with their students:

· Be a good role model, especially when you are with your kids. Always buckle up in the car, always wear a helmet when biking, and always follow pedestrian safety rules.

· Help your children learn and practice the safety rules for walking, bicycling, or riding in a passenger car, school bus or transit bus.

·Take the Safest Route–Always pick the safest route from home to school. Take the time to walk the route with your student before the school year begins and practice walking it.

·Use the Sidewalk–Use public sidewalks and streets whenever possible and if there is not a sidewalk, always walk facing traffic.

·Obey Traffic Laws–Even pedestrians have to obey the rules of the road. Remind your student to recognize and obey traffic signals and pavement markings. Pedestrians should only cross the street at designated crosswalks, street corners and traffic controlled intersections.

·Look both Ways-Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets from between obstacles like parked cars, shrubbery, signs, etc.

·Walk in Groups–There is safety in numbers, encourage your student to walk in a group to and from school. Groups are more likely to be seen by driver. Garden City Public Schools and the Garden City Police Department want everyone to have a safe school year. For more back to school safety information, contact Garden City Public Schools at 620-805-7000 or the Garden City Police Department at 620-276-1300.  You can also find more information on the Garden City Public Schools website at www.gckschools.com, or the Garden City Police Department website at www.gcpolice.org