Get in the zone. Whenever you're driving near a school, be aware of posted school zone speed limits. These limits exist to make sure children and other pedestrians make it to school safely. Some municipalities enforce school zone limits even when signs are not present, so be sure to learn your local laws.
No passing in school zones. When trying to pass another vehicle, drivers have to speed up as well as reduce their overall visibility of the road. Children trying to cross the street might not be expecting your car to be gathering speed or for you to be changing lanes. As a result, this dangerous practice is strictly prohibited in school zones; so is making a U- or three-point turn. It's safer for everyone if all unpredictable driving manoeuvres are avoided by motorists while in a school zone.
Watch for crossing guards. When you see a crossing guard start to cross the road (usually with a brightly coloured vest and stop sign in tow), come to a complete stop to allow children to cross safely. Proceed with caution once the crossing guard returns to the sidewalk and lowers the stop sign.
Beware of school buses. When you see a school bus, keep a safe distance behind it and prepare for frequent stops. No matter what side of the road you're on, stop as soon as the red lights start flashing or the stop sign swings out to the side, and don't hit the gas until the lights turn off and the driver moves the stop sign back to its original position. Watch for stragglers as you carefully pick up speed.
Keep your eyes peeled. Kids move quickly and aren't always as careful or mindful about traffic as we might like them to be, so keep an eye out for children who are waiting to cross the street, getting out of cars, or riding their bikes. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop suddenly if need be.
Go slow. There are no two ways about it, excessive speed is dangerous. Always ensure that you're driving under the posted speed limit, exercising an abundance of caution in school zones, especially when children are most likely to be outside of school grounds - right before the school day begins, at lunch and when school lets out. Remember that children are unpredictable; they may dart out onto the road suddenly, so be sure to drive slow enough that you can come to an unexpected stop safely.