RCMP are reminding motorists to travel with care through school zones and crosswalks as students return to the classrooms Sept. 6 and 7. (RCMP)

RCMP are reminding motorists to travel with care through school zones and crosswalks as students return to the classrooms Sept. 6 and 7. (RCMP)

Okanagan motorists use caution as students return to school

B.C. RCMP sends out yearly reminder that school speed zones are back in effect as kids head to classes

As teachers, parents and students prepare to begin another school year, B.C. RCMP want to remind everyone of some important safety tips.

Students in the Vernon, Kelowna, Okanagan-Skaha and Nicola-Similkameen School Districts are slated to return Tuesday, Sept. 6. Students in the North Okanagan-Shuswap district return Wednesday, Sept. 7.

“The first week of school is an exciting time for students, parents and teachers alike,” said Sgt. Krista Volyk with the Upper Fraser Valley regional detachment. “We want to remind motorists that school is back in session and that school zones are once again in effect. We urge drivers to be cautious and to remain watchful for children on the roadways.

“Speeding through school zones and not stopping for school buses are dangerous and illegal driving behaviours.”

School zone speed limits of 30 km/hr are in effect on school days from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. where posted.

The first week of school is a great opportunity for drivers, parents and students alike to review the following safety tips:

Drivers:

• Obey speed limits. Slow down and be extra cautious when approaching school zones;

• Do not park inside or over a designated crosswalk;

• Do not pass a stopped vehicle that is allowing pedestrians to cross the street;

• When approaching a school bus with its lights flashing and its stop sign extended, drivers in both lanes of traffic must come to a complete stop until the bus driver has turned off the lights and retracted the stop sign.

Parents and caregivers:

• Talk to your children about road safety;

• Avoid dropping your child off for school on the opposite side of the street from their school. If this is unavoidable, make sure your child knows how to cross the street safely at the nearest designated crosswalk;

• Avoid double-parking by stopping and/or unloading in non-designated parking/drop-off zones.

Students:

• Make sure to review your route to school with your grown-up at home;

• Wherever possible, cross the street at a marked crosswalk;

• Look both ways before crossing the street. Remember: stop, look and listen;

• If a vehicle stops to allow you to cross, ensure that you make eye contact with the driver and that the driver makes eye contact with you;

• Remove ear buds and headphones so you can hear your surroundings;

• Phones and digital devices can be distracting when walking and crossing streets. Put the phone away and focus on getting there safely;

• If you are riding your bike, make sure you know the rules of the road and are traveling single file as close to the right side of the street as possible. Make sure your helmet is on and fits you properly.

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