Navigating School And Playground Zones

As a professional company driver, you don’t always know what you will encounter on your daily drive. For example, when you see signage as you enter a school or playground zone, it’s important to be aware of the correct procedures before you enter these zones. If you get caught not following these rules, it could result in a hefty fine.

Here’s a refresher to remind you what the time zones mean and what the speed limits are:

School Zones

These are indicated by a florescent yellow/green pentagon shaped sign.

Times (effective only on school days):

  • 8:00 am – 9:30 am
  • 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
  • 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

These hours may vary for different towns and cities according to municipal bylaws. If a municipality does establish times different from these, they will be posted beneath the school sign. For example, in Calgary, there are no school zones – just playground zones which are in effect every day, year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the bylaw times are posted beneath the playground zone sign.

Speed Limit

  • Unless otherwise posted, 30km/h is the maximum speed limit in both urban and rural school zones.
  • If a speed sign is not attached to it, you still must use caution when driving through the school area.
  • Look for the sign that signals the end of the school zone. You have also reached the end of a school zone when you have approached a traffic sign that indicates a higher maximum speed.


  • You are not permitted to pass another vehicle travelling in the same direction within a school zone when the zone is in effect.

Playground Zones

These are indicated by a yellow and black diamond shaped warning sign and are usually located in close proximity to school zones. Be aware that:

  • These are in effect every day of the year from 8:30 am to one hour after sunset.
  • The speed limit is 30km/h unless otherwise posted.
  • You cannot pass another vehicle travelling in the same direction.

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I am a Fleet Safety Operations Manager with 30 years of experience teaching traffic safety across five provinces, and in four countries. Outside of work, I am an avid traveller, a fervent Flames fan, and a Mustang enthusiast.