Break out the books, pencils and new kicks -- a new school year is about to begin. But before you get to class, make sure you're prepared to drive in a school zone. Having these last few months of no school, some drivers may forget proper driving rules in these zones. But don't sweat it - is here to give you a refresher course.

Watch for Buses Unloading Children - First thing is first. You have to get to school. Many school buses make their way onto the streets during your commute. Put checking your emails on your cell phone aside and pay attention to buses loading and unloading children onto the bus. When a bus pulls over or even stops in the middle of the road, you must come to a complete stop. You'll have children who run to cross the street the minute they step off the bus and some that take a little bit longer. Remain patient and alert at these times! Remember - when the bus is at a complete stop, you may not pass them or go around them.

Pay Attention When Driving Through Neighborhoods. In the morning many children in neighborhoods are either walking to school or walking to their bus stops. A student on a bike dashing out or a kid not looking both ways could be an unfortunate accident. It's important to maintain the speed limit and observe your surroundings. If you are approaching a group of children slow down and make sure you are aware of the children in the group.

Signage. Often times you will see a sign, much like the one in this blog post, letting you know you are approaching a school zone. While in the school zone there is often a reduced speed of 15 mph while school is in session. Not only will this help your reaction time to the children who are walking or getting off the buses in this area, but it will also help you avoid getting a speeding ticket. 

Crossing Guards. In school zones, especially close to school you will encounter crossing guards who are there to help students cross the street safely. Watch for crossing guards holding signs up. This indicates that you need to stop and wait for all pedestrians to be out of the cross walk before continuing your commute.

Avoid costly mistakes this year. Remember these helpful tips while driving and you'll be sure to ace any driving scenario given to you in a school zone! 

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