Back to school brings a reminder for drivers

Motorists advised to take extra care as youngsters head back to class on Tuesday

As this year’s seemingly endless summer begins to wind down, the first signs of autumn are sure to be just around the corner.

The first of those signs will make an appearance Tuesday morning as thousands of youngsters across Saanich and Vancouver Island head off for the first day of a new school year.

And with those youngsters caught up in the excitement of seeing classmates again comes a reminder for motorists.

Drivers are asked to use extra caution when heading off to work Tuesday morning. But that caution should continue beyond Tuesday morning. The 30 km-h school zone speed limit will be back in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And the caution should extend beyond just school zones.

Drivers are advised to leave a little extra time to reach their destination so they can slow down to keep an eye out for youngsters darting into the road. And if you see a vehicle stopped in front of you or the lane beside you, be prepared to stop as they may be yielding for a young pedestrian.

Parents dropping off children in a school zone should always allow them to exit onto the sidewalk side of the vehicle and never allow a child to cross mid-block.

Parents should also speak with younger children about the rules of the road. Children should cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or marked crosswalk wherever possible. It is safer to walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk, away from traffic, and to walk facing traffic if there is no sidewalk so drivers are better able to see you.

Police in Saanich and across the province will again be out to enforce the school speed zones, with tickets ranging from $196 to $253, along with three penalty points. But a momentary lapse in judgment on the part of a driver can carry a far steeper cost, one that could haunt them for years to come.