It must be that time of year already…you know what I mean…It seems like every time I go into a store or supermarket I am sure to find dedicated sections of notebooks, binders, and other school supplies. Even though we are still in the midst of summer, this of course means that school will be back in session before we know it! Besides getting your supplies ready for class, it is also important to prepare for driving back to school. Here are Primo Driving School’s Back to School Driving Tips that are a must to add to your back to school check list:
1. Sign up as soon as you can for your parking space for your school.
First thing’s first. If you have parking privileges at school it is very important that you secure your spot ASAP. For the most part, school parking lot spaces are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis and having a prime parking spot has its major advantages. Good parking space perks include being close to class, school entrance (or exit) and for schools that allow their students to leave during lunch, your parking lot can afford you a few extra minutes if you choose your spot location for that reason.
Check with your individual school to get the most accurate information for parking lot reservation requirements.
Make it a habit to slow down in a school zone to 25mph. Children are unpredictable and don’t always look both ways before crossing the street, so it’s especially important to be vigilant during mornings when school is starting and in the afternoon when class lets out. Also, be sure to constantly check your rear view and side view mirrors, particularly when opening a door in a school parking lot. You never know who or what can be coming up on your side or behind you! Finally, be patient and listen to your school crossing guard.
Did you know that if you fail to stop for a school bus with its stop arm extended and red lights flashing that it is can be charged as a misdemeanor and is punishable by law with a $3,000 fine and up to a year in jail? Bus drivers flash the pre-warning signals at least 100 feet before stopping, so as soon as you see the amber lights, prepare to stop immediately.
3. Follow the GDL Laws – Only one passenger in the car.
Besides being good practice, the law states that you are only allowed one passenger under the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) law. Having more than one passenger in the car is very distracting and increases your risk of getting into a car crash significantly. Extra passengers often lead to teens driving more aggressively, listening to loud music, and getting distracted with conversations, among other things.
Police know to be on the look-out for cars riding with extra passengers around high schools, so err on the side of caution and advise your new drivers to stick to only driving with one passenger at a time.
4. Take your backpack off before putting on your seatbelt.
Something I see as a common mistake is students getting into cars with their backpacks and not bothering to take them off before fastening their seatbelts. This is not only impractical, but incredibly dangerous!
Seatbelts are designed to work in a very specific way, and if not worn correctly, they cannot be guaranteed to perform and do their job of protecting you. When riding in the front seat as a passenger, it is especially important to wear your seatbelt correctly so that it can act in unison with airbags in the case of an emergency. If you are not seated and positioned correctly in the untimely event of a car crash, the dangerous implications and resulting damage can be catastrophic.
It is very easy and simple to avoid this hazard. Simply advise any students getting into a car to take off their backpacks and place them in the trunk or on the floor.
As a new driver, take the opportunity to practice driving to and from school. If possible, try driving to and from school before school starts to become familiar and comfortable with the route. Notice all the different types of road signs and traffic patterns that you encounter on the way. If you are able to do these “practice runs” any new construction, or additions to your school won’t come as a complete surprise when school actually starts.
By knowing your route ahead of time, you will be a more confident and calm driver.