A new school year is upon us, and students, parents and other drivers are all adjusting to a different routine. As you begin the new year of chauffeuring your kids to and from school and extra-curricular activities, it is important to keep the safety of all road users, especially the little ones, in mind at all times. Keep these tips in mind while driving to avoid dangerous situations and keep children safe.
As the new school year begins, there’s going to be more congestion on the roads, including bus drivers, parents, and students. Drive slower and pay attention to other road users- especially pedestrians. Also, its important to be mindful of cross walks– especially before and after school so you can easily stop when needed.
Obey School Zone Traffic Rules
School zones often have reduced speed limits during school hours; this is to ensure the safety of everyone, so make sure you know them and obey them. A speeding ticket in a school zone with a reduced speed limit will often come with a more expensive ticket so be sure to slow down. If you see other drivers speeding, you can write down their license plate numbers and report to the appropriate authorities.
Some schools will also have rules against double parking. This is because double parking impedes other road users’ view of the road and can pose a hazard for pedestrians and other drivers. There may also be rules about what side of the road to drop your kids off. Make sure you follow all the rules to keep students, faculty, staff and other parents safe.
Watch out for The Crossing Guard
When in a school zone, look out for the crossing guard. Stop when you see he or she crossing the road and wait for the guard to get back to the other side before moving. Remember to proceed with caution.
Beware of School Buses
When you see a school bus, drive carefully, and prepare to stop frequently. Watch out for the flashing red lights and stop sign. When you see the flashing lights, regardless of what side of the road you’re on, come to a complete stop and do not take your foot off the brake pad until the lights go off and the driver retracts the stop sign. Proceed with caution and be on the lookout for children crossing. Here are some extra tips:
1. Don’t overtake a stationary school bus from behind or move towards it from any direction, i.e., don’t pass a school bus loading or offloading children.
2. Try to stay 10 feet away from the school bus.
3. Don’t block the crosswalk. Doing so would cause pedestrians to walk around your car, which can put them in danger of oncoming vehicles.
4. Be patient.
Be on the lookout for kids waiting to cross the road, riding their bikes, or getting out of cars. Always look carefully when driving near a school crosswalk, park, playground or close to a school bus and be prepared to stop suddenly. Check your side mirror before opening your door and keep your phone put up.
Dropping Off Kids
Many schools have designated drop off areas, so be sure to use them. If you can’t make use of the drop-off area, park your car and walk students to the front of the school. Do not leave your car in the drop off zone; this will cause traffic to back up or force other drivers to go around your car, which can cause an accident, where you would need a car accident attorney.
When picking up your kids, make sure you adhere to the school’s rules. Don’t park at the drop off zone for too long, if your kids aren’t out yet, go back around.
Watch Out for New Drivers
Be aware of new drivers, especially when driving near a high school. These students have very limited driving experience and are likely to be distracted. Contact a professional at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP for more information.
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