How to Drive in School Zones

On each and every road, avenue and street outside American schools, you are likely to find a sign that says, "School Zone," followed by a speed limit. Though it often differs between cities, counties and states, the standard speed limit in a school zone is 15 miles per hour (24 kilometers per hour). These special speed limits were created to spread a cautious psychology around schools, helping drivers slow down and be aware that there very well may be pedestrians, especially young children and adolescent children, in the area. Not only is it dangerous to drive too fast in a school zone, but fines are also usually doubled in these areas, so it is also extremely expensive. No matter what your reason, it just makes sense to slow down whenever you're driving in a school zone.


  1. Image titled Drive in School Zones Step 1
    Look at the signage. A roadside sign entailing that a school is down the road usually precepts a school zone. If you know a school is coming up, you won't have to brake hastily and can slow down safely for the lower speed limit.
  2. Image titled Drive in School Zones Step 2
    Watch for bicycles. Schools are not only a haven for pedestrians, but children biking to school, too. While some children will bike on the sidewalk, others will bike on the right side of the road. Always be cautious around bicycles, and pass them slowly and with plenty of room. Always be on the lookout for bicycles crossing the streets in front of you.
  3. Image titled Drive in School Zones Step 3
    Respect school buses. It's illegal to pass school buses in many states-see what the rule is where you live. Either way, always be cautious if you choose to pass a school bus, and never pass one that is making a stop. Whether you are in front or behind a school bus when it makes a stop, you must also stop. As a driver, you never know when a child may be crossing the street to get on or get off their school bus before or after school. Frankly, it is simply not worth the risk to endanger a child's life just to get to your destination quicker.
  4. Image titled Drive in School Zones Step 4
    Check for blinking lights. Many school zone signs will have blinking lights while they are in effect. This is usually from well before the school day to well after school gets out to compensate for after-school activities. Some school zones are in effect 24 hours a day and whether or not school is in session.
  5. Image titled Drive in School Zones Step 5
    Approach cautiously. When approaching a school zone, brake well before you pass the school. You never know when a child may not be paying attention and cross the street without looking.
  6. Image titled Drive in School Zones Step 6
    Coast as much as possible. Stay off your accelerator and keep your right foot above your brake pedal in case you need to make a sudden stop. This is very likely in a school zone and is, after all, the reason why school zones have lower speed limits to begin with.

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Categories: Defensive Driving Skills & Safety