Driving through a school zone is more than simply slowing down to 30 km/h. It also requires a strong layer of attention and patience, which are most effective when they are working hand in hand. This gives drivers the ability to better react to a potentially sudden situation. A child can be injured just as severely by a car driving at 30 km/h as one moving at 50km/h however the reduced speed gives the driver much more control of the vehicle and the ability to pay more attention to the surroundings.
An excellent safe practice is to create a wider school zone area than that of the posted 30km/h signs. You don’t necessarily have to slow down (it would be great if you did) but widening the zone by a few blocks has many benefits. You mentally prepare yourself before entering the actual school zone instead of spending the first block paying your attention to slowing down. As well, children are walking to and from school much farther away than the school zone so you’re creating an even safer environment for them to walk in. This is especially important during the winter season.
Keep in mind the attention of a child can be very narrow. While they understand safety rules and procedures, such as looking both ways before crossing a street, they may not be able to see a potential problem as far ahead as an adult. Therefore, it is up to the driver to take up the responsibility and make sure we’re ready for anything that can happen in a school zone. Slow down, pay attention, and make safety the right choice.
School buses are a unique vehicle on the road. They make frequent stops, often in places that other vehicles don’t such as railway crossings. They have access to areas that we aren’t used to accounting for in normal traffic flow which can catch us by surprise. They also have a lot of lights and signs that can be confusing for other drivers to understand what exactly to do since there are different models of school buses and different laws that apply to them. If we aren’t prepared for all of the extra possible scenarios a school bus can present to us, then the chances of an incident increase.
The best way to start preparing yourself is to know the school bus laws. Each city, town and village has their own bylaws for school buses so if you move to a new area, check with City Hall for clarification. For Regina and Saskatoon, the use of flashing safety lights and bus stop arms are prohibited. While this seems odd, there are actually very good reasons for this. As Sgt. Koroluk from the Regina Police Service states:
Another way to adjust your driving during the school season is to leave 5-10 minutes earlier than normal for work for the first few weeks of September. This will give you that extra time to deal with increased traffic in school zones and to compensate if you have school buses in front of you that make frequent stops. If you find after those few weeks that there isn’t any interruption, then go ahead and take back those extra 10 minutes of sleep!
Not only will making this time adjustment make sure you get to work on time, it also ensures that you keep calm during your drive. If a school bus is holding you up and making you late for work, your stress level will increase. You might accelerate quickly around a bus or speed above the limit after the bus isn’t in front of you which greatly increases your chance of a traffic incident. Then you’ll be late for work and you potentially injure someone.
Take the time to plan for the increased traffic changes from school buses. Students, parents, and bus drivers will all appreciate you for it.
A popular practice for the police during the school year is to set up speed radars in school zones. It is a pretty sure bet that every school zone in your city or town will see a police setup within the first few weeks of the school year.
A vehicle takes a longer distance to stop even at slightly higher speeds. A simple concept, yes, but it’s more than you may know.
According to Forensic Dynamics Inc., here is the stopping distance for vehicles travelling at 40/50/60 km/h in ideal conditions:
40 km/h = 8.6 meters
50 km/h = 14.05 meters
60 km/h = 20.24 meters
These numbers, of course, can vary depending on the type of vehicle, tires, etc. however the point is that even from 40 to 50 km/h there is a significant difference in how long it takes your vehicle to stop.
It would be a true achievement if a school zone speed radar blitz issued zero tickets. That is the goal of the police service and it should be everyone else’s goal as well to make safety the right choice and not speed.
by Amanda LePine - Community Relations Coordinator
The other day, I had mentioned to Lavina that I’d never been to the Vintage Tea Room in Regina. She said, “They have great food, and an amazing atmosphere, we should go!” So Lavina and I went for lunch that same day.
I can’t speak for Lavina, but I know the experience I had was extraordinary. Several types of tea to choose from, a large menu with tasty mixtures of ingredients, and the dessert list was my weakness. I had 3 different kinds of desserts, and every single bite was delicious. I highly recommend a visit to the Vintage Tea Room. The owners, Karen and Doug, sure have a passion for what they do and they provide outstanding customer service.
As we indulged in lunch, I mentioned how neat it would be to talk about our new informal speaker series called Safe-Tea while in the Vintage Tea Room. “We could get all dressed up, sip tea, and make content to share with everyone in the community,” I suggested.
Now, you may be wondering, what is Safe-Tea? The Safe-Tea is a FREE one-hour presentation at a venue of your choice. The Saskatchewan Safety Council created Safe-Tea as a platform for conversations with seniors and their caregivers. Initially, the topics will include home fall prevention, fraud prevention, and our Mature Driver Refresher Course (55-Alive).
Within a couple of days, Lavina and I were back at the Vintage Tea Room for our production day. Karen and Doug were thrilled to have us. Karen brought out her special silver tea set and shared with us some tea drinking etiquette. Did you know lifting your pinky while drinking tea is not proper? I did not! To properly sip tea, you can hold your teacup with both hands, but when you bring your cup to your lips… you should be holding the teacup with one hand. I always used to loop my finger through the teacup handle, which as it turns out, is also improper. That day, I learned way more than I thought there was to know about teas and the proper way to drink them. Now, I am ready to drink all the tea and smile knowing I’m a proper tea-drinking lady. Lavina and I will be taking a #Safe-Tea break often.
Safe-Tea builds relationships with active seniors in the community. We focus on seniors, their families, caregivers, and community service providers. This is an opportunity to bring quality information to those in our community.
Want to host a Safe-Tea event? Call us today or visit our website to choose a date and time. Let’s take a #Safe-Tea break together! We’ll even supply the tea. Everything is better with tea, right?
We are looking for passionate, capable partners who would like to promote and champion Safe-Tea events. The Safe-Tea focuses on building awareness and delivering safety information to seniors in our community. If you would like to support Safe-Tea, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the video and let us know what you think her answer was.
Would he have increased the likelihood of getting where he was going with a vehicle inspection before setting out with his grand plan?
What does your pre-trip walkaround or inspection look like? Comment below or share a video. Have a little fun with it. Share your inspection routine (dance) using #JiveB4UDrive
Sometimes things don't go quite as you had planned. A pre-trip vehicle inspection increases the likelihood of getting where you planned to go.
Developing a practice where you walk around your vehicle checking to ensure tires have air in them, that nothing is behind or underneath your vehicle (inclusive of puddles caused by fluid leaks), and that all lights are working before driving is a safe choice.
This habit should be combined with a more thorough weekly and monthly routine multi-point inspection to ensure you are not surprised by a failure or breakdown at the least opportune time. Worse yet, having a vehicle system failure that leads to a traffic incident resulting in injury or death.