When schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, school zones went away, for the most part (with some exceptions). But this year, school is back in session, many workplaces have reopened, and traffic seems pretty close to normal. 

Whether your morning or afternoon commute involves a school zone or you pass through one only occasionally, observing the posted speed limit and other rules are a must for keeping children and others in the community safe. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

The school zone speed limit is 15 mph.

No more — that’s the law. In fact, if you go over — even a little, or even if you’re following the flow of faster traffic — you may receive a citation. 

Observe the posted speed limit from the first posted sign to the last. 

That’s right: no speeding up between signs. The school zone speed limit is enforced from the first sign you see to the final sign. 

Your front bumper may not pass another vehicle’s bumper. 

No passing or overtaking another vehicle in a school zone. Why? For starters, it’s illegal. As well, with another vehicle in front of you or to the side, you don’t have complete visibility, and may not be able to see small children with another vehicle in the way. You should also avoid changing lanes. 

Always stop for children crossing the street and follow the directions of the crossing guard. 

Even if you think you can squeeze through, don’t. Be especially attentive to whomever is directing traffic, and follow their instructions, often given using a flag or a sign. 

“When children are present,” means when children are in school, not necessarily in the road. 

If school is in session, or it’s commuting time (before and after school), then school zone safety applies — even if you don’t see any children whatsoever. 

Be prepared for unpredictability. 

Children may be traveling in ways other than walking. Watch for kids who are on bikes or scooters, or even running. Be ready for kids to dart into the street, and don’t expect them to be watching for you. 

Staying alert, ignoring distractions, and respecting the laws of the school zone keeps everyone safe. If you would like to learn more about traffic safety and make sure you know all the rules of the road, check out our driver’s education classes.