Driving in school zones
Why do we have school zone speed limits?
Until children are about eight years of age, it is difficult for them to assess whether a vehicle is moving or not. When children see an approaching car, they first notice the colour of the vehicle — not how fast the vehicle is travelling.
Children also assume cars stop instantly, and they do not have the ability to estimate whether there is enough time for them to cross the road.
It takes a vehicle 13 metres to come to a complete stop when driving 30 km/h, but 27 metres — more than double that distance — when driving 50 km/h.
- The posted speed limit in school zones is 30 km/h and it is applicable on school days between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., unless the sign says otherwise.
- The posted speed limit in playground zones is 30 km/h from dawn to dusk, every day of the year, not just on school days.
- By law, drivers are required to have their lights on between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise, or whenever they cannot see clearly due to weather conditions. That said, it is recommended to drive with your headlights on at all times.
- The painted yellow curb lines that prohibit parking in front of a school are there for a reason: to ensure that drivers' vision and their ability to spot children on the sidewalk or roadway are not impeded.
Did you know?
In B.C., the "School Zone End" sign is not required. Then how do you know when a school zone ends and it is safe to increase your speed?
The answer is to look for the school zone sign facing the opposite direction of traffic. In some municipalities, the school zone sign pole is painted neon green so the sign is more visible to drivers in all directions. At some schools in other jurisdictions, staff members put traffic cones along the entire stretch of the school zone as an extra reminder for drivers to slow down.
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