On Monday, Swift Current students will return to school. CAA Saskatchewan reminds drivers to pay attention and slow down in school zones.

“We know it can become very congested with cars, school buses, loading or unloading of students, so it’s just very important to be alert and attentive in school zones,” said Christine Niemczyk, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations.

She said drivers should not exceed the posted speed limit and also need to know the affected hours of that speed limit.

“School zones, playgrounds, anywhere there [are] children, who are a vulnerable audience, are playing, then we need to, as drivers, keep an eye out for them, and be alert,” she added.

Niemczyk said it’s also important to give them time to cross the street safely and that students should cross at marked intersections and marked crosswalks.

She added children should wear high-visibility clothing if they're going to be out walking in the early mornings and at dusk. With the shorter days, there are some safety concerns for parents and caregivers of children who may be walking to and from school.

“Make sure your kids are wearing light colours,” she said. “If they’re all wearing dark colours, they may not be that visible, so even think about putting reflective tape or reflective marking or a vest on them, or have them carry a flashlight, that they are visible to other pedestrians, too, as well as drivers. It is still dark in the morning, it gets dark earlier in the evening, depending on their schedules, they want to be sure that they can be seen.”

Niemczyk noted motorists should also be aware of ways student visibility can be obscured, such as in parking-restricted loading zones at schools, or even by exhaust fumes from cars idling near intersections.

There are areas in school zones where idling is not permitted.

“We also ask motorists, and parents and caregivers, to observe the no-stopping and no-parking zones in school areas,” she said. “We want to make sure the entrances are clear for students for clear vision and accessibility.”

“Refrain from parking or stopping in areas where you’re not to be,” she added. “We want to make sure there’s room for the students.”

Exhaust from idling vehicles can impair vision for children and other vehicles in traffic.

She added kids should not run between parked cars, nor should they walk on high snow banks.

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