Back to School – Safety Tips for Drivers
It is about that time for kids to be heading back to school. In August, every year over 55 million children across the U.S. head back to school. Around 13 percent of those kids walk or bike to their classes. AAA warns drivers to be careful around school zones especially before and after school hours. The afternoon hours are especially dangerous, nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities happened between 3 – 7 p.m. It is important to remember some important key tips to help keep all children safe throughout the school year.
School days can be very hectic and it seems as if parents are always rushing to drop their kids off or pick them up. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster. Also don’t forget to make complete stops at stop signs and look around for children before proceeding through the intersection.
If you are Dropping Off
Each school usually has specific guidelines for drop off and pick-up. It is important that you know the rules as well as your children. More children are hit by cars near schools than any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. Rules to follow in school zones include:
- Do not double park
- Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
- Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
Sharing the Road with Young Children
According to the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related accidents are 4-7 years old, and they are walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. Some tips to keep them safe:
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn
- In a school zone, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk
- Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
Sharing the Road with School Buses
If you are behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were behind a car. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- Never pass a bus
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
Bicyclists in most cases have the same rights as vehicles. Children riding those bike may not know the rules of the road therefore driver need to be extra cautious while around them. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.
- When passing a cyclist, drive slowly and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
- If you are turning right and the cyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go first
- Watch for bikers turning in front of you without signals or warning
- Check side mirrors before opening doors
If you or someone you knows has been injured from being struck by a car or bus, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at 618-505-1660. Sam C. Mitchell & Associates has been in business 50 years and have recovered over $100 million for our clients.