Drive safely.
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Drive professionally.

School’s back in session - beware!

By now most all school systems are back in session; grammar schools, high schools and college classes have resumed. In some locations schools are now going to a yearly schedule and instead of having the traditional summer breaks they have other breaks all year long—so you really have to pay attention to the signs and the buses that are rolling.

This is indeed an exciting time for these young people, especially the grammar school and high school students, many of which will be riding those big yellow and black rolling CAUTION signs (school buses). Their minds are on school, homework, social activities, athletic activities and everything but where they are going and what’s going on around them. For their entire life they have depended on adults and adult drivers to look out for them, and they are no different going to and from school. There are reduced speed limits in school zones to allow for just those circumstances, so obey those limits in school zones and be especially watchful in and around these areas. Watch for traffic in these areas, which sometimes backs up while buses and parents are taking kids to and from schools. Be patient, you won’t be delayed very long.

Watch for school buses, especially in rural areas. Be aware of the laws in your area on stopping for school buses that are loading or unloading children. In most states, except on limited access highways, you are required to stop for school buses, and the courts are not forgiving when dealing with violators. Watch for the school buses around railroad grade crossings; they are required to stop at all railroad grade crossings regardless. Be prepared to stop and be careful when you cross the tracks as well. Watch for buses around areas other than school zones, where they may be taking young people for field trips, entertainment or athletic events. Be aware that the drivers of school buses have an awesome responsibility and are many times distracted by what is going on in the bus. Give them a little extra room and expect the unexpected when sharing the road with school buses.

We have talked about school zones and school buses, but let’s address another challenge associated with school being in session. Students of high school and college age will be driving themselves and some of their friends to and from classes and school. These are typically inexperienced, untrained and, it appears, sometimes unaware drivers. It has been said they are so dangerous because when it comes to driving, they know everything and fear nothing. They fail to practice even the most basic skills in driving vehicles and are more concerned with impressing their friends by driving with their stereo cranked loud or using the newest technology. Give them a lot of extra time and distance and don’t let them ruin your day and your good record.

On the road there is never any time to relax, and these young people pose a more unique and challenging situation than you deal with in most traffic situations. Help keep them safe and let them “go and grow” to be educated, productive members of our society. If you get an opportunity to speak to these young drivers through their school, take that opportunity to impress upon them the importance of safety on the road, seat belt usage and the other skills that will help them safely share the road with trucks and buses.

The information contained in this report was obtained from sources which, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, are authentic and reliable. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. makes no guarantee of results and assumes no liability in connection with either the information herein contained, or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein, or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedures.