It's back to school time! Hanover County Public Schools starts its 2022-2023 school year on Tuesday, Sep. 6th. With school buses and children once again traveling along Ashland's streets and sidewalks, the Ashland Police Department (APD) will be conducting proactive patrols of school zones and bus stops to ensure the safety of students and motorists.
Below are some helpful reminders to keep pedestrians and motorists safe throughout the school year:
School Zone Enforcement
- Posted school zone speed limits must be obeyed when signal lights are flashing.
- There are enhanced fines for speeding in school zones.
- APD officers will be conducting traffic enforcement prior to and during school openings to serve as a reminder for drivers to slow down in school zones.
- Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. When on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic.
- Before you cross the street, stop and look left, right, and left again to see if cars are coming.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing and always cross streets at crosswalks or intersections.
- Stay alert and avoid distracted walking.
- Motorists should remember that pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. 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.
- 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.
- Virginia law requires traffic in both directions to stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
- Stay alert for the yellow flashing lights that school buses use to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children.Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signal to motorists that the bus is stopped, and children are getting on or off the bus.
- Stop your vehicle far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus. Children are most in danger of being hit in the area 10 feet around a school 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.
For more information about back-to-school safety, please visit the National Safety Council’s website.