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RCMP on watch for unsafe driving as Langley schools return next week

Students are back in class on Sept. 6
Constable Heather McLaren, Const. Lee Millar, and Cpl. Craig Van Herk are among the Langley RCMP officers who will be watching out for dangerous driving this September, particularly in and near school zones. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

With kids returning to school across Langley on Tuesday, Sept. 6, Langley RCMP and ICBC are warning drivers to be cautious around school zones and crosswalks again in coming weeks.

“Safety over convenience,” said Cpl. Craig Van Herk of the Langley RCMP. “Slow down, and stay safe.”

Starting next week, there will be more kids on the roads in neighbourhoods near schools, on bikes and on foot.

Van Herk said that the majority of drivers adjust and take that extra bit of care, especially in or near school zones. But a few don’t.

“It’s those few that make it dangerous for everyone,” Van Herk said.

According to ICBC, ever month in B.C., 31 children are injured in crashes while walking or riding a bike. Five children are killed every year.

Of those, 66 children are injured in school and playground zones.

The insurance corporation offered a number of tips for drivers and parents.

Drivers should remember that there is a 30 km/h speed limit in effect at most schools every day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and in playground zones from dawn until dusk. Many school zones are also playground zones.

READ MORE: School zone speed limits could be extended in Langley Township

READ ALSO: Langley schools get $2.1 million provincial boost

ICBC also recommends that drivers:

• Leave your phone alone, and watch the road.

• If a vehicle stops in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian. Proceed with caution.

• Watch for school buses. When their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.

• Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure there are no small children hidden from view. Watch for pedestrians when backing up.

• Make sure headlights, brake and turn lights are clear, visible, and in working condition.

For parents and caregivers:

• If dropping off a child in a school zone, they should exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk.

• If they walk to school, practice the route ahead of time with them, review street names and land marks, and make a game out of guessing the traffic signs and their meanings.

• Teach them the basics of crossing the street, including stopping at the curb or edge of the road, looking left and right, as well as back over their shoulder for turning vehicles. Only cross when cars are stopped, and make eye contact with drivers.

• Where there is no sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic, so they can see approaching vehicles.

• Teach them to put away electronic gadgets and ear buds while walking, and if they will be out at night or in poor weather, make sure they’re wearing bright clothes and reflective gear.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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