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Back to School – 12 tips for Drivers

Aug 17, 2015 | 2015, News, Vehicle & Road Safety

OTTAWA – With children and youth returning to school in the coming weeks, the Canada Safety Council reminds drivers to be extra cautious on the roads during this busy time of year.

“We owe it to the young people in our communities to review and respect the rules around school zones,” says Jack Smith, president of the Canada Safety Council. “As the summer break come to a close, remember that extra traffic on the road means increased likelihood of collisions.”

Driving Tips to Keep Kids Safe

1. Reduce your speed. Be more careful in residential areas where children are present. Respect speed limits in school zones and playground zones.

2. Stop for school buses displaying the flashing red lights and the extended stop arm. In most cases, traffic in both directions must stop for school buses. Do not continue on until the flashing lights stop.

3. Obey crossing guards.

4. Never overtake other vehicles within a school zone or within a half block of any crosswalk.

5. Avoid U-turns and three-point turns in school zones. Children can have a difficult time predicting these types of vehicle manoeuvers.

6. Give cyclists a wide berth (a minimum clearance of one metre is the rule in some jurisdictions).

7. Shoulder check before opening your vehicle door.

8. Leave extra time to reach your destination.

9. If you observe reckless driving or suspect a driver is impaired, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, and report the incident to police by calling 911.

10. Choose public transit and active modes of transportation, if and whenever possible. One less car on the road makes the road that much safer for everyone.


If you must drive your children to school

11. Let kids off away from traffic. Usually, that is the passenger side of the vehicle.

12. Walk a block. To help avoid vehicle congestion in the immediate vicinity of the school, consider parking a short distance away, and walk your kids the rest of the way.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Let’s all do our part to keep kids safe this back-to-school season.

Quick Stats

A total of 10,764 children ages 5 to 16 were hit and injured by motor vehicles while they were on foot or bike in the five years between 2008 and 2012 (the latest data available). This works out to an average of 2,767 children per year, or approximately eight children per day.

These statistics include 79 young pedestrians who were killed and 37 young cyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles during the same five year period.

September to November tend to be the worst months for young pedestrians, while June is typically the worst month for motor vehicle collisions involving young cyclists.

— Transport Canada National Collision Database


About the Canada Safety Council

The Canada Safety Council is an independent, knowledge-based, charitable organization dedicated to the cause of safety. We provide national leadership in safety through information, education and collaboration. We are Canada’s voice and resource for safety.



For more information, please contact:

Mike Prud’homme
Manager, Traffic Safety & Training
Canada Safety Council
(613) 739-1535 (ext. 233)

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