Driving safely around schools and buses

With schools all around us, this article serves as a friendly reminder for drivers to use extra caution around schools and buses. You’ll get some simple tips that can help ensure everyone gets to school — and home again — safely.

Tips for driving around school yards

With parents in a hurry, kids excited to see their friends and buses lining the streets, school yards can be extremely busy places — especially right before and right after school. Here are some things to consider when navigating school zones:

  • Always slow down, follow the speed limit and be extra cautious when driving
  • Always stop for crossing guards and stay well back from the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Watch for blind spots, including between parked cars or buses, where kids may run out from unexpectedly.
  • Stay alert and stay focused. Distracted driving is always dangerous, but even more so when there are kids around.

Tips for drop-off and pick-up

According to Ontario’s transit agency Metrolinx, the number of kids between 11–13 being driven in cars has nearly tripled, between 1986 and 2016.1 So, to help keep pick-up and drop-off safe for those driving, riding and walking, consider these tips:

  • Always use designated drop-off and pick-up areas if available
  • If you must drop kids off across from the school, park on side streets that are less busy — and always use a crosswalk or crossing guard.
  • Consider carpooling to help reduce the number of cars entering or exiting the school yard during high traffic times.
  • Check to see if your school has any specific rules or procedures for dropping kids off and be sure to follow them.

Tips for driving around buses

Statistics collected by Transport Canada have shown school buses to be the safest way to transport kids to and from school.2 However, serious injuries and fatalities can sometimes occur when students are getting on and off the bus on busy streets. These tips will help keep everyone safe, when sharing the road with school buses:

  • Be prepared to stop as soon as you see a school bus start to slow down and turn on its upper red lights.
  • If you’re approaching the bus from the front, come to a complete stop at a safe distance so students have lots of room to cross the road in front of you.
  • If you’re behind a bus that’s coming to a stop, according to the Ministry of Transportation, you should stay back at least 20 metres.3 Failure to do so, can result in a hefty fine.
  • Don’t start driving again until the red lights on the bus have stopped flashing and the bus has started to move again.
  • Check your surroundings and be alert as kids could dart out to catch a bus

Click here to learn more about school bus safety to learn more about school bus safety in Canada and why taking a bus is safer than any other way to travel to and from school.

The most important thing for all drivers to remember is to stay alert. Using a little extra caution when driving around school yards and buses — in addition to following the tips above — will help prevent the unthinkable from happening.

For any unfortunate accidents that may occur in a school zone, you should call TD Insurance immediately to speak with a Claims Advisor. Our Claims department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.