Back to school is coming – August is the big month! Whether you’re going to be hopping in the carpool line, heading off to college for the first time, or just making your way to work and back like every other day, you’re bound to encounter school zones. These busy areas have their own special rules that are different than your typical road rules, so it’s important to be aware of them (because otherwise, you could be facing stricter-than-normal consequences). Toyota of Orlando is here to teach you about safe driving in school zones so no matter where your day-to-day takes you, you’re prepared to handle it!
Know how to handle safe driving in school zones
We’ll start with the basics – actual school zones. Once school is back in session, you’ll find a lot more traffic surrounding these zones, as well as new rules put into play. These zones extend around schools to protect students who bike and walk to school, and breaking the rules within the zone can cost you a pretty penny, as well as be extremely dangerous. It’s essential to be paying attention when you’re driving in these zones. Here are our Orlando Toyota safe driving rules so you know how to react when you find yourself in one!
- Pay close attention to your surroundings. This means putting away your cell phone and refraining from engaging in distracted driving; our Orlando Toyota dealership recommends keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You’ll typically find unexpected stopping points (for crossing guards) and speed reductions in these zones, so it’s important to be paying attention. Defensive driving will be your best friend in a school zone!
- Look out for signs. You will always see a sign indicating the beginning of a school zone, as well as the speed limit for that area and when it’s applicable. These signs are usually bright yellow and white, and the speed limit in these zones is usually around 20 mph (if not slower). You’ll also see a sign that indicates the end of the school zone, at which point you can return to your normal speed and road rules.
- Watch for road rule changes. In addition to a reduced speed limit, Orlando Toyota drivers may find themselves facing new road rules inside a school zone, such as no u-turns at a stop light or coming to a stop where you may not expect one. That’s why safe driving in school zones requires your full attention!
- Be aware of crossing guards. They’re stationed in school zones to help kids bike and walk across busy streets, and they don’t always follow the stoplight pattern. These guards wear brightly colored vests and have stop signs that they’ll flash at you when they’re ready to cross – be sure to stop and let everyone through, watching carefully for stragglers. Don’t pull your new Toyota in Orlando through the intersection until it’s clear!
Navigate traffic alongside school buses with Toyota of Orlando!
Let’s talk about school buses next. Even if your day-to-day commute doesn’t take you through a school zone, you’re sure to encounter these giant yellow buses out on the road. There are very specific safe driving rules that apply to school buses, and it’s important that you follow them when behind the wheel of your Toyota in Orlando. Here are some helpful hints:
- If you’re driving on a road that has one lane for each direction, DO NOT PASS the bus (obviously). However, take note of the bus’ movements. On a road like this, you’re required to stop your car when the school bus stops. They will flash yellow lights and stop signs will extend from the side of the bus. Don’t pass them; come to a complete stop behind the school bus until all passengers have been loaded and unloaded and the stop signs have been drawn back against the bus.
- If you’re driving on a multi-lane road – two or more lanes in each direction – without a median or barrier, then you have to stop when the school bus stops regardless of which side of the road you’re on. Even if you’re driving in the opposite direction, you must come to a complete stop and follow the same safe driving rules as above. Don’t move your vehicle until the school bus has retracted its signs and is in motion!
- If you’re driving on a multi-lane road that has a median or barrier dividing the opposing lanes of traffic, then you only need to stop if you’re moving in the same direction as the school bus. If you’re on the opposite side of the road, you don’t have to come to a stop. However, pay close attention to make sure no students cross into your path as you drive by!
Use Orlando Toyota defensive driving tips to get through the school year
However, during back to school and the subsequent school year, Toyota of Orlando recommends that you pay close attention to your surroundings even outside of the school zone. Residential neighborhoods will have more foot traffic as kids walk to the school zones and their bus stops, and it can be difficult to see in the early morning hours. Here are some Toyota of Orlando tips for tackling that aspect of safe driving:
- Like we said, use defensive driving. This means anticipating accidents and paying full attention to what’s going on around you on the road.
- Follow the speed limit! They’re set for a reason, especially in residential areas.
- Come to a complete stop at stop signs and stop lights, and ensure the crosswalk is completely clear before you pull through it
- Use your headlights from dusk until dawn so people can easily see you coming in your Orlando Toyota.
- Keep your eyes on a swivel. Kids don’t always follow pedestrian rules, and may try to cross streets outside of crosswalks. Be ready to come to a quick stop should someone run out in front of you!
Want more tips? Looking for the perfect back to school ride to get the year started right? Call Toyota of Orlando today at (888) 725-3520 or swing by and see what we have in stock at 3575 Vineland Road, just off I-4!