To some, yellow school buses signify the changing of the seasons and fond memories of their school days. For others, they signify one thing: inconvenient work commutes. To help you keep yourself and others safe on the road, we’d like to send you ‘back to class’ to refresh you on some important driver safety tips.

Slow down

Whenever you are driving in a school zone, you have a responsibility to look out for children and adjust accordingly to the conditions. Remember, the speed limit in these areas is 20 mph and it is illegal to pass your fellow drivers, no matter how tempting it may be to do so.

Student crossing

Pedestrians have the right of way—period. As a driver, you need to be mindful of students crossing the street, even those who don’t properly use a crosswalk.  It is dangerous to block these walkways as you might inadvertently force a walking child to go around your car and dangerously into moving traffic.

Share the road

School transport vehicles use flashing red lights when stopped to pick up or drop off children. Some also have stop signs that fold out of the driver’s side. In either case, you must do just that: stop. Failing to do so could cost you a minimum of $250, or worse: your license.

No distractions

Distracted driving, defined as driving while doing another activity like texting or talking on the phone, is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. Whether you are trying to answer an email or anxious to document the thrill of the road via social media, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, and at 55 mph, that is equivalent to driving with your eyes closed the length of an entire football field.

Any driver 18 years of age or older may talk on the phone if at least one hand remains on the wheel and it does not interfere with driving. However, should you get into an accident while talking, you will be cited for distracted driving and could even face a lawsuit.

The lesson

For the next nine months, allow yourself some extra time every day. Rushing and making poor decisions can lead you to cause an incident or accident with serious legal consequences.