Back to School Driving Tips
Drive Smart in School Zones
The end of summer means millions of Texas children returning to school. TxDOT reminds drivers to be extra cautious as school zones become more active, as well as to be aware of school bus safety.
Despite much lower traffic levels around Texas schools due to the pandemic, there were still 400 vehicle crashes in school zones in 2020, resulting in 11 serious injuries. The most common causes of these crashes were entirely preventable: 1) failure to control speed, 2) driver inattention and 3) failure to yield the right-of-way at a stop sign or private drive.
Following these simple tips can help Texas children reach school safely and help drivers avoid costly fines and tickets. We urge drivers to slow down, pay attention and follow traffic laws in school zones. Parents and children walking to school should be alert at all times, and only cross the street at intersections and designated crosswalks.
Tips for Driving in School Zones
- Be aware that traffic patterns around school zones may have changed since the last school year.
- Stay alert and put your cell phone away. Using a handheld electronic device while driving in an active school zone is against the law.
- Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines increase in school zones.
- Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.
- Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.
- Watch for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles.
- As always, stay away from alcohol and other drugs that may impair driving. They affect your ability to remain alert, decision-making, reflexes, and reaction time.
Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School
- Always use sidewalks. If there’s not a sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.
- Cross the street at intersections or marked crosswalks. Look left, right and left again before proceeding.
- Always obey crossing guards.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Never assume a driver sees you.
- Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
- Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
- Don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
- Follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.