Everything You Need to Know about School Zones in Australia

By Omid

School zones are everywhere. Driving through a school zone is inevitable; it can be a part of your route for a driving test. Or you may have a kid that you need to pick up from school. So it is important to know what steps you should take when approaching a school zone.

A school zone sign is posted as a way to warn drivers to slow down and look out for children crossing the road. So what sorts of information are posted on the sign?

It includes the:

  • reduced speed limit
  • times where the limit is in place
  • and in some locations, could have yellow flashing lights and red circle to show the sign is in operation.

Here's what you should do when approaching a school zone.

  1. Slow down. Reduce speed as soon as you can when approaching schools so you'll have enough time to scan all around you.
  2. Scan the area. Expect that there will be heavy traffic and watch out for kids going to or from schools.
  3. Look out for signs. There will be indicators such as road markings (for example pick up and drop off areas) and other road signs that are operating in the area. So be sure to keep an eye for those and obey them.
  4. Obey school crossing supervisors. Some schools may assign someone to assist the pedestrians to cross the road safely at the children crossings. You must give way and wait for all pedestrians to return to the footpath. Only then you can proceed with driving.
  5. Avoid distractions. Keep your phones and other distractions away so you can give all your attention to driving.

The standard school zone times in Queensland start from 7:00am to 9:00am and 2:00pm to 4:00pm Monday to Friday. In some cases, school hours are from 7:00am all the way through to 4:00pm. You just need to see the signs! Remember to always be cautious when passing by a school, especially if it is within school hours.

Pick-up and Drop-off.

There will be pick-up and drop-off locations around the school's entrance. These locations are designed to provide a safe environment for children to wait for their parents for pick-ups. Another purpose for this is to not hold off traffic for an extended period of time. If you are in these locations, you are given a maximum of 2 minutes to pick up and drop off children.

Parking rules.

Parking rules still apply in school zones. Parking restrictions could even be stricter to ensure everyone's safety, especially children.

These are the possible signs you'll see near schools:

  1. Parking signs. Streets near schools may have 15-minute parking limits during school zone hours.
  2. No stopping signs.
  3. Yellow edge lines. Means stopping and parking is not allowed
  4. No parking signs.
  5. Loading zone signs. (2 minutes pick-up and drop-off)

Children might run across the road without looking to their sides for oncoming cars. So it is best to know how to detect possible situations and drive defensively. Always be alert and obey the rules to avoid accidents on the road.

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