It’s been a while since many Oregonians have seen school children walking or rolling through the neighborhood or had to stop behind the flashing red lights of a school bus.

With schools around Central Oregon going back to in-person sessions, people driving should remember their own ABCs – always be cautious and courteous.

The Speed limit is 20mph in school zones in any of the following situations:
A – Anytime a yellow light on a school speed sign is flashing.
B – Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on school days.
C – Crosswalks near school grounds when children are present.

People driving should take care in their own neighborhoods, by bus stops and in school zones and keep an eye out for students and families. With Social Distancing requirements you may see groups of walkers more spread out than usual. Slowing down and avoiding distractions – cell phones, loud music, even conversations – will help you react more quickly. That’s especially important because students are going back to school while the days are still shorter – and darker. 

Keep in mind that children aren’t the best at gauging distance and speed or knowing when it’s safe to cross a street. They’re also, well, kids, so they may dart into the street to catch a bus without checking for traffic.

Here are some things people driving can do to make sure students are safe as they head back to classrooms:

By school zones and in your neighborhood

  • Slow down – A safe speed may be below the posted speed.
  • Drive for conditions – This time of year is often snowy or dark, limiting visibility for people driving, people biking and people walking so keep those headlights on to help others see you. Roads may be icy.
  • Take care backing up – Remember students may be walking to their bus stop or biking to school.
  • Obey traffic rules – They’re there to keep us all safe. That means no U-turns, double parking, stopping in crosswalks or turning on red where not allowed.
  • Yield to people walking – At crosswalks, intersections or in the middle of the street.
  • Watch for school buses –
    • Drive with caution and prepare to stop for a school bus when its overhead lights flash yellow.
    • Stop when a school bus’s overhead lights are flashing red, no matter which way you’re traveling. Only proceed once the bus starts moving again and the red lights stop flashing.

At school

  • Obey drop-off and pick-up rules – Park, load and stop only in designated areas. Heed crossing guards.
  • Curb it – Pull to the curb instead of making students cross the street.
  • Be on the lookout – Watch for students, other people driving and buses.

There’s one more thing people driving should ALWAYS do – plan ahead. Use alternate routes if possible and give yourself extra time if you plan to drive near a school when students are being picked up or dropped off.


Want to learn even more about how to be a friendly and safe driving in Oregon – Check out our Oregon Friendly Driver Online Course – become a Certified Oregon Friendly Driver!