Care needed as driv­ers near schools

Matamata Chronicle - - News/opinion -

Re­duc­ing the risks and keep­ing all road users safe is the driver be­hind a road safety cam­paign be­ing con­ducted by Waikato po­lice tasked with keep­ing those re­turn­ing, and in some cases start­ing, school from this week.

Act­ing Dis­trict Road Polic­ing Manager, In­spec­tor Dana McDon­ald, said school start dates were var­ied across the Waikato with most sec­ondary school stu­dents re­turn­ing on Mon­day.

Depend­ing of where you are and what school your chil­dren may at­tend, term one com­menced be­tween Jan­uary 26 and to­mor­row.

‘‘While a stag­gered start, this still means a sharp in­crease in the num­ber and type of road users from new en­trants be­ing dropped off at school to more ex­pe­ri­enced stu­dents rid­ing bikes or walk­ing that all add to the con­ges­tion on our roads.’’

McDon­ald said it wasn’t just those trav­el­ling by them­selves mo­torists are asked to keep in mind of but those trav­el­ling by school buses as well.

‘‘ I’d just like to re­mind all driv­ers of the speed limit of 20kmh when pass­ing school buses drop­ping off or pick­ing up chil­dren.

‘‘ At the same time var­i­ous schools within Hamil­ton, satel­lite towns through­out the Waikato and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties all have sign­posted re­duced speed lim­its out­side them and we would ask all driv­ers to take note of th­ese and ad­just their speeds ac­cord­ingly.

It’s about pro­tect­ing those too young to look out for them­selves.’’

McDon­ald said there were a num­ber of key things road users can do to keep them­selves and chil­dren re­turn­ing or start­ing school safe.

Top tips for mo­torists:

Be alert for chil­dren; they can be un­pre­dictable.

Slow down in and near school zones or res­i­den­tial ar­eas and come to a com­plete stop at all in­ter­sec­tions.

Look for clues such as cross­ing guards, bi­cy­cles and play­grounds which in­di­cate chil­dren could be in the area.

Scan be­tween parked cars and other ob­jects for signs that chil­dren could dart into the road.

Al­ways stop for school buses that are load­ing and un­load­ing stu­dents.

Al­low plenty of time so you are not rushed as you travel to work or school.

Safe walk­ing par­ents:



Young chil­dren ac­com­pa­nied by an child, or a buddy.

In­volve chil­dren in se­lect­ing the safest route to school/home.

Teach chil­dren to stop, lis­ten and look for ap­proach­ing and turn­ing ve­hi­cles.

Dis­cuss the use of cross­walks, and why it’s safer to cross at some cor­ners rather than oth­ers. should be adult, older

Dis­cuss the mean­ing of traf­fic sig­nals and mark­ings along the route.

Teach them to co-op­er­ate with po­lice, school safety pa­trols and adult cross­ing guards.

Set a good ex­am­ple for chil­dren – their ac­tions and at­ti­tudes are mod­elled af­ter yours.

When pick­ing up or drop­ping off chil­dren:

En­sure chil­dren get in and out on the foot­path side of the car.

Park safely, away from yel­low lines, in­ter­sec­tions and drive­ways.

Don’t dou­ble park school.

Park fur­ther away if nec­es­sary and walk with your chil­dren to and from the school gate.

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