Advance View: Avoid hazards in school zones

As of this week, children have again become a standard driving hazard – especially if the route for your morning commute or afternoon trip to the grocery store runs through or near a school zone.

Kids are back in school. And they’re excited about it. Both those factors will require extra caution from drivers.

Because many parents opt to drive their children to and from school, there will be a significant spike in neighbour traffic volumes and congestion on weekday mornings and afternoons from here on in.

Traffic congestion has a way of creating frustration and inciting rash behaviour – and bad decisions – in drivers who suddenly realize they are going to be late for work or appointments.

In an environment of traffic congested by parents trying to relearn the routine of getting their youngsters to the school’s front door, frustrated commuters finding their usual route to work clogged, and masses of kids bubbling with excitement, one bad decision can wreak havoc on many lives.

To create even more confusion, lots of kids will be walking to school, creating a mass of pedestrian traffic excited about their belated return to school, finally reconnecting with friends, and filled with all sorts of thoughts and ideas to distract them from the business of safely negotiating their route from home to classroom.

Throw in the growing trend to distracted driving as people who have always tried to combine their commute with breakfast or personal grooming and now split their concentration on cellphones and texting (we shudder to think what will happen when devices like Google Glass become ubiquitous), and tragedy lurks at every corner, at the edge of every sidewalk.

Try to remember, as you’re texting or chatting or trying to make up some lost time, that in any unintended contact between a vehicle and a child, the child always loses.

And so do you.

– B.G.

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