It’s Back to School Next Week

School holidays are nearly over and our children will be heading back to school next week.  Winter time adds extra risk to road user’s journeys, particularly for children who don’t have as much experience or are easily distracted.

Darker mornings and evenings, and wet or foggy days all contribute to reduced visibility so making sure they are able to be clearly seen is important.20210723 - School Crossing

For those that live rural, make sure your youngsters wear some type of reflective garment if they’re walking or cycling to school or to catch the bus. Giving drivers every opportunity to see them helps reduce the risks.

Remember to check lights are working on bicycles if riding in dark or low light conditions.

Drivers – allow plenty of space and slow down when you see younger people walking or cycling. Children cannot accurately judge the speed and distance of approaching cars – so slow down and expect the unexpected.

In areas where there are vulnerable road users, like schools, please reduce your speed regardless of the speed limit. Driving to the conditions means being aware of what is happening around you and driving appropriately so you can react should something change.

“If you drive your children to school, consider parking further away from the school gate and walk. This will help reduce congestion making it safer for everyone. Double parking is of particular concern during pick-up and drop-off times and puts children at risk by creating more hazards for them to negotiate”.

Police have a low tolerance for speed around schools and when passing stationary school buses.

Drivers are required to slow down to 20 km/h no matter what side of the road they are on when passing. School patrols also rely on courtesy and safe behaviour from all road users to help keep children safe on their journey to school.

We ask all drivers to be extra careful on the roads as children settle into the new school term and remember:

  • Children cannot accurately judge the speed and distance of approaching cars
  • Young children cannot always locate the source of sounds
  • They tend to be far-sighted and have difficulty with side vision
  • Children's eye levels are lower than adults; they may not always be able to see around parked cars
  • They get easily distracted around other children and may forget to look for traffic.
  • Ensure children have an item of clothing on that makes them visible in low light conditions
  • Model examples of safe behaviour to help children learn