As a community, we have no greater responsibility than to work together to insure the safety of our children.” ~West Chicago Police Department
Driving Near Schools:
- Follow all posted speed limits within designated school zones.
- Follow *State law for pedestrians’ right-of-way at crosswalks. (Scroll to bottom of page)
- Hand-held cellular phone use is now illegal in Illinois when operating a motor vehicle. The danger of distracted driving is much greater around pedestrian traffic, therefore the penalty for using a cellular phone or other electronic communication device in a school or construction zone is much higher.
- Be familiar with the locations of schools in your daily travels. Make sure that you slow down and be especially alert when driving close to schools.
- Be aware of your local schools’ traffic flow plan for dropping-off and picking-up your child. Use the designated drop off location.
- Do not drop your child off or pick them up on the non-school side of the street.
- Do your best to arrive early for school. Children trying to hurry can be unpredictable and put themselves in dangerous situations.
- Remember, the school crossing guards, police officers and school staff present near the school are there to help insure the safe and efficient flow of traffic before and after school. Please follow their directions.
Sharing the Road Safely with Child Pedestrians:
All drivers need to recognize the special safety needs of pedestrians, especially those that are children. Young, elderly, disabled and intoxicated pedestrians are the most frequent victims in auto-pedestrian collisions. Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way at all intersections; however, regardless of the rules of the road or right-of-way, you as a driver are obligated to exercise great care and extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians.
- Drivers should not block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn. Do not stop with a portion of your vehicle over the crosswalk. Blocking the crosswalk forces pedestrians to go around your vehicle and puts them in a dangerous situation.
- In a school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are blinking, you must stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.
- Always stop when directed to do so by a school patrol sign, school patrol officer or designated crossing guard.
- Children are the least predictable pedestrians and the most difficult to see. Take extra care to look out for children not only in school zones, but also in residential areas, playgrounds and parks.
- Don’t honk your horn, rev your engine or do anything to rush or scare a pedestrian in front of your car, even if you have the legal right-of-way.
Driving Near School Buses:
- All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.
- All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
- While state laws vary on what is required on a divided roadway, in all cases, traffic behind the school bus (traveling in the same direction) must stop.
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
- Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
- Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
Getting on the School Bus:
- When the bus arrives, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road until you are five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus. Then you can cross the street.
- Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first because the driver may not be able to see you.
Behavior on the Bus:
- When on the bus, find a seat and sit down. Loud talking or other noise can distract the bus driver and is not allowed.
- Never put head, arms or hands out of the window.
- Keep aisles clear-books or bags are tripping hazards and can block the way in an emergency.
- Before you reach your stop, get ready to leave by getting your books and belongings together.
- At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat, then walk to the front door and exit, using the handrail.
Getting Off the School Bus:
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road until you can turn around see the driver.
- Make sure the bus driver can see you.
- Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross.
- When the driver signals, walk across the road keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
- Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe for you to begin walking.
- Stay away from the wheels of the bus at all times.
- Whether you’re getting on or off the bus, stay 10 feet ahead of the bus when crossing the street in front of it and never walk behind the bus.
Safety Tips for Walking to School:
- Walk on the sidewalk or a walking path. When there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
- Always walk when crossing the street, never run across the street to catch a ball or chase a toy, a friend, or a pet.
- Darting out in front of a parked car is dangerous. The driver of the car coming down the street can’t see you.
- Cross at corners and use crosswalks whenever possible; always stay within the lines of the crosswalk.
- Never go for a walk with a stranger. Only walk with someone who your parents say is okay.
- Be careful around parked cars; stop, look left, look right, and look left again before stepping out.
Safety Tips for Riding a Bike to School:
- When riding your bike to school, ALWAYS wear a helmet that is properly fitted.
- Ride on the right side of the road or trail in a single file line (one bike behind the other) in the same direction as other vehicles and come to a complete stop before crossing streets.
- Walk your bike on school grounds.
- Park and lock your bike in the bike racks.
Safety Tips for Crossing the Street When Walking or Biking:
- Stop at the curb or the edge of the road (if there is no curb) before you cross.
- Stop and look left, then right, then left again, turning your head to see over your shoulder for moving cars, before you step enter the street.
- Listen for the sound of car motors, car doors, sirens, and horns before you enter the street.
- If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right, left again until no cars are coming. Be aware that cars may not stop even if you have the right-of-way.
- If a car is parked where you are crossing, look to make sure there is no driver and that the car is not running. DO NOT WALK OR RIDE BETWEEN PARKED CARS OR BUSES.
- When no cars are coming, WALK – do not run- or ride across the street. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing.
*(625 ILCS 5/11-1002) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1002)
Sec. 11-1002. Pedestrians’ right-of-way at crosswalks.
(a) When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
(c) Paragraph (a) shall not apply under the condition stated in Section 11-1003(b).
(d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
(e) Whenever stop signs or flashing red signals are in place at an intersection or at a plainly marked crosswalk between intersections, drivers shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians as set forth in Section 11-904 of this Chapter.
(Source: P.A. 96-1165, eff. 7-22-10.)