Parents and other adults can do much to improve traffic safety around schools by driving cautiously, teaching children safe practices, and limiting vehicle trips. In some cases, parents and other drivers may be the cause of safety concerns. Drivers should obey all traffic laws and apply the following practices.
- Carpooling can reduce the number of vehicles near the school, especially during poor weather.
- Avoid parking on the opposite side of the street from the school. When it is necessary, instruct children on how to safely reach the vehicle.
- Make sure children are careful in opening the vehicle doors and that they exit and enter on the curbside of the vehicle. Children should not be allowed to cross the street in the middle of the block to reach the vehicle.
- Drivers should not double park or block traffic. Waiting or parking in red zones is also not allowed.
- Do not block buses or use areas designated for buses only. If an emergency vehicle requires access, the area should be cleared.
- Never leave a vehicle unattended in a loading zone.
- Do not park within a crosswalk or pass a stopped vehicle which is allowing pedestrians to cross.
- Do not violate the law by using the excuse "I will just be here a minute" when picking up or dropping off children. Violations still present a danger and cause congestion during the time of day when it is most important to provide safety for children and avoid congestion.
- Learn the traffic patterns at the school and avoid being a disruption.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
Pedestrian and bicyclists should obey the same traffic safety practices that normally apply.
- Children should be taught to be defensive. A child should not assume a driver sees them.
- Always look in all directions before entering a street, and never run into a street.
- Avoid crossing streets at mid-block, especially when parked vehicles may obstruct vision. Use Stop signs, traffic signals, and crossing guards when available.
- When crossing a street, do not assume a green light or WALK light means it is safe to cross. Look for traffic.
- A child should not follow others or run to others when they call until a safe crossing is available.
- When riding a bicycle, ride with the flow of traffic (not against it) as close to the right edge of the street as practicable, in single file.
- Walk the route to school or other frequently used locations with your child and point out safe practices. This includes locations such as where children may catch a bus.
- Teach children about traffic laws, and encourage the child to ask questions when they are unsure of what to do.
Adult Crossing Guards
Adult crossing guards are provided near schools to assist children in safely crossing streets. It is a violation of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) to disregard the signals or directions of adult crossing guards.
Guards are used primarily to provide maturity and good judgment in assisting children to cross streets near schools. Guards are not provided to direct vehicle traffic movements. Adult crossing guards are professionals trained to focus their concern toward the welfare of the children.
Children should be taught to obey the directions given to them by adult crossing guards. This includes crossing only when directed, not running or riding bicycles at crossings, and being alert for traffic.
School Bus Safety
Children riding school buses (or transit buses) should also obey safe practices. The following should be observed.
- Wait for the bus in a safe place, as far from the edge of the roadway as practicable.
- Enter and leave the bus in an orderly manner, using the handrail.
- Remain seated, facing forward.
- Follow the bus driver’s instructions.
- Keep hands, arms and feet inside the bus at all times.
- Never run or throw items inside the bus.
- Help keep the bus clean and in good condition. Report any unsafe or unsanitary conditions.
- Do not walk into the street near the bus without looking carefully for traffic. This is especially important when the bus may block the view of drivers.