August 22, 2022
Back to School Safety Driving Tips
The school year is starting soon, and traffic will increase as parents and guardians bring their children to and from school. School commutes can overlap with work commutes, increasing the number of vehicles on the road during the morning rush. This in turn may lead to more car accidents, but awareness and preventative safety measures can help reduce the risk of incidents.
When driving near schools or encountering a bus on its route, it is important to remember that children overall are more impulsive, harder to predict, and more prone to distraction than adults. Young children are small and harder to see than adults. Teenage drivers lack experience with traffic laws and handling vehicles. Teenage drivers lack experience. Relearning the rules of the road as they apply to school zones will make driving safer for everyone.
Getting injured in a car accident is scary. Your child getting hurt is even more frightening. While you may be careful on the road, not everyone is. An experienced car accident personal injury lawyer will provide legal advice if you or your child are injured while commuting to school.
Take Precaution When Driving Near a School Bus
Passing a stopped school bus which is loading or unloading students is illegal in all 50 states. School buses make it clear when children are boarding or disembarking: yellow flashing lights signal the bus preparing to stop to let pick up or drop off children. When stopped and loading and unloading passengers, the bus driver will lower extended stop sign arm and turn on red flashing lights indicate children are getting on or off. Drivers must stop their cars and only move once the arm is withdrawn, the lights stop flashing, and bus resumes moving.
When the bus merges back into traffic, give it the right of way. If you are driving behind a bus, allow for a larger buffer distance than you would for another car. Three car lengths are recommended. School buses often make unexpected stops, and the extra space will help prevent collisions and injuries.
School buses are larger and harder to maneuver than cars, and so they require more time to stop. They also have many blind spots, including the 10-foot radius around it. Stopping more than 10 feet from the bus helps children enter or leave safely.
Keep Your Eyes Out for Pedestrians
Be alert when driving in a school zone. Ignore your phone rather than talking or texting while driving, but eliminate other distractions while driving in school zones, where children may dart into the road without warning, paying little attention to their surroundings. Stopping in time can prevent tragedies.
Remain aware of the speed limit. School zone speeds can be as high as 25 mph or as low as 10 mph. It is important to follow the posted limits, even outside of pickup or drop off times. Students may be engaging in extracurricular events after hours, or may simply using the playground or fields after school hours for recreation.
School safety officers and crossing guards are charged with helping students safely cross the street. They wear high visibility clothing and possess handheld stop signs, making them easy to see. Always stop when a crossing guard raises their sign. If they give other gestures, follow those instructions as well.
Do not pass a car that has stopped for pedestrians. When you are making a turn, or stopping your car at a red light or stop sign, avoid blocking the crosswalk. This will force pedestrians to walk around you in order to cross, and place them in the way of moving traffic.
Education is another means of preventing accidents. Teach your child about the importance of using crosswalks rather than the middle of the street, and following traffic signals. Impress upon them why they should avoid distractions, and refrain from using their phones while crossing.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
Be alert for bicycle riders and give them the right of way. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) states that most cyclist fatalities come from motorists failing to yield, or others not seeing the cyclist. Child bikers are less likely to signal when they are turning, and may turn in front of you without warning. Keeping a distance of at least 3 car lengths could help you stop in time.
It is also important to keep an eye out for bike riders and pedestrians when turning or pulling out of parking or driveways. Be especially cautious for bikers in school zones, bike lanes, around bus stops and residential areas. Checking side mirrors before opening doors can also prevent collisions.
Parents and guardians should also teach their children about bicycle safety. This includes proper use of helmets and turn signals. Brightly colored clothing or backpacks will promote visibility. Encouraging children alertness on the road and refraining from using electronics while riding will also keep children safe.
What Should Be Aware of When Driving Near High Schools?
In high school, students reach an age where they can get learner’s permits and eventually driver’s licenses. High school campuses may have a greater number of students driving in cars as a result. These new motorists have little experience behind the wheel, and may be unpredictable in terms of speed or maneuvering. Others may be prone to distractions or impulsive actions. Using defensive driving around them reduces the risk of accidents.
What Should I Keep in Mind When Picking Up or Dropping off My Child?
Avoid double parking, as it blocks visibility for both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers should also refrain from loading or unloading children across the street from school. Use the designated drop off areas. If possible, try to pick your children up in the same area where you dropped them off to prevent roaming.
The Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Fights for Clients Injured in Vehicle Accidents
Defensive driving will help protect you and your children, but even the most careful drivers cannot control actions of others on the road. If you or your child have suffered an accident on the way to or from school, the experienced car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. will fight for your rights. Please call us at 267-861-7100 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation. With offices located in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Anthony and his team proudly serve clients throughout Norristown, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and the surrounding areas.