As the summer season draws to a close, the familiar rhythms of the school year return, causing noticeable shifts on the road. The once-quiet streets become abuzz with activity as students go back to school.
During this transitional period, drivers of all ages should exercise caution and adhere to traffic laws to stay safe.
Each fall, students and parents absent from the roadways during summer vacation return in full force. This sudden influx contributes to congestion, longer travel times and changing traffic patterns.
For example, pressure on side streets amplifies as drivers seek alternate routes to avoid the main thoroughfares laden with school-related traffic. These side streets can easily become congested, and unexpected bottlenecks may form, requiring drivers to be more adaptable.
Adding to the complexity is the presence of many new drivers. These young motorists often lack experience and familiarity with road rules, contributing to increased driver stress and potential hazards.
Planning ahead by leaving home a bit earlier to account for increased traffic can alleviate stress and reduce the temptation to rush. Following the speed limit when sharing the road with newer drivers who might make sudden or unexpected maneuvers is also important.
Many students begin walking to school each fall. Research from the National Safety Council underscores the special vulnerability of child pedestrians, specifically those between four and seven years old. Drivers can take the following steps to prioritize their safety:
- Respect the right of way at crosswalks
- Adhere to flashing lights and signals
- Comply with crossing guards
- Avoid distractions while driving
When it comes to sharing roadways with pedestrians, awareness is key. Drivers should be especially attentive at intersections and crosswalks where collisions are more likely to occur.
Understanding changes to traffic volume and patterns during the back-to-school season can help drivers practice safer habits on the road.