During the school year, it’s important to be extra cautious when driving in school zones. The following are some road safety tips, if followed, to minimize the chance of getting into a car accident or even worse, hitting a child, which could result in civil, if not criminal litigation.
1. Drive slower!
Speed limits in school zones are generally lower than other roads. Observe these rules. A speeding car may be too fast to notice excited children running out into the street after school.
2. Stop for a school bus when its light is flashing
Children are getting out of the school bus when the lights on signs are flashing. Do not move forward until the flashing stops.
3. Obey crossing guards at school intersections
They are hired for a reason, to direct traffic and make sure children cross the street, to and from school safely.
4. Do not pass other vehicles in school zones
When you are focused on overtaking a car, you may not see or pay attention to children walking on the crosswalk or other slow moving cars either dropping off children or picking them up.
5. Refrain from 3 point turns and U-turns in school zones
This can delay other traffic and will force other cars and children to act differently.
6. Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
Many unnecessary accidents occur with bicyclists. Give them extra room.
7. Driving Fundamentals: Shoulder check
This is essential especially in a school zone. Children may be playing or talking without paying attention to traffic. Without a shoulder check, you could hit them.
8. Leave earlier
With so many cars picking up children, it will take longer to get through a school zone. If you do not leave extra time, you may rush and make reckless decisions. Leave extra time.
9. Public Transit May Be the Better Way
The more cars on the road, especially in a school zone, the more chances for an accident. Public transit drivers follow all driving rules and can get you to your location safer than driving a car.
10. Walk a block
When traffic is packed outside of a school, it is always better to let them off away from the traffic to avoid getting hit by cars trying to weave around the congestion. Walking a block may be a safe alternative.
11. School Parking Lot Safety
School parking lots are usually small and only big enough to accommodate the teachers’ cars. Trying to navigate around this tight area could result in bumping into other cars as well as hitting children that dart out between the teachers’ cars.
12. Distractions lead to accidents
As explained several times above, children dart out onto the road in front of school because many of them are not versed in safety procedures. Being distracted puts you at risk of not being focused enough to make last second snap decisions for safety purposes.
13. What to do if you have to reverse
Reversing in a school zone with lots of cars trying to get through is already a bad idea. If you must reverse, use your utmost focus to avoid hitting any cars or children.