School zone warning sign on blur traffic road with colorful bokeh light abstract background.Have you ever accidentally blown through a school zone and later gasped in horror when you realized what you did? Nearly everyone has, because school zones are not always easy to see. And students don’t always cross at crosswalks. That’s why drivers need to be extra careful of school-bound kids when driving through school zones.

Unfortunately, not everyone is paying attention as much as you are. The SafeKids coalition found that two-thirds of drivers speed through school zones before and after school when foot traffic is heaviest.

That’s not to say America doesn’t have safe drivers. There are lots of them. But sometimes they need a reminder about why it’s important to take extra care of tots in school zones.

So here are some tips that might help you keep your children, and others, safe on the way to school.

What drivers should do:

  • Slow down and stay alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones. It could save you a ticket. And it could save someone’s life.
  • Keep a lookout for children at intersections, especially before and after school. This is particularly true in places where there isn’t a crossing guard.
  • Never pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing. Children are taught to cross the street in front of the bus.
  • Reduce distractions inside your vehicle so you can concentrate on the road. This may include putting down your cell phone or turning down the radio in areas where there may be children.

What children should do:

  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Ideally, children should cross with an adult until they are at least 10 years old.
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If possible, plan a route to school where a crossing guard is present.
  • Never run out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk to a point at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you. Children should avoid bending down to tie their shoes or pick up an object while crossing, which could put them at risk of not being seen.