Back-to-School Safety Tips for Parents and Students
School is back in session, which means drivers need to do their part to keep kids safe as they walk and bike to school. If you are driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing.
Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety. This includes two and four-lane highways. If physical barriers such as grassy medians, guide rails or concrete median barriers separate oncoming traffic from the bus, motorists in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.
Here are some additional safe driving tips to remember this month and throughout the school year from the personal injury attorneys at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers.
Drive Slowly in Residential Neighborhoods and School Zones.
The beginning of the school year means children will be waiting at bus stops, especially in residential areas. Slow down and be especially alert in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
School zones have reduced speed limits, usually at 25 mph, and while this speed can seem slow, the speed limit has been reduced for a good reason. Be aware of this reduced speed and adjust your driving accordingly.
Drive Slow and Be Patient in School Parking Lots.
Some of the most chaotic and stressful situations for drivers and pedestrians involves the school parking lot. During drop-off and pick-up times, children are getting in and out of cars, and freely crossing through the parking lot. Parents may not always be paying close attention, and a child could easily dart out from a car, resulting in a tragic- but avoidable accident.
Be patient and drive with caution through school parking lots. When backing out of a parking spot, make sure there are no children walking behind your vehicle. Also, do not park illegally as it can block visibility for pedestrians and other vehicles trying to leave the lot. Be aware of the buses and where they pull in and out of the school and be aware of the crossing areas for children who walk to school. Even if a parent is running late and is in a hurry, that is never an excuse to drive carelessly while in a school zone.
Be Extra Cautious at Intersections.
When approaching a stop sign in a residential area or at any intersection, it is important to exercise caution. If children are in the area, do not assume they know when and where to cross. Allow the children to fully cross through the intersection before driving through.
Watch for School Buses.
The start of the school year means buses will be out on the road again. When driving behind a school bus, leave extra room between your car and the bus. This distance gives the driver time to stop once the bus begins to flash the yellow caution lights. It’s illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus once the red lights are flashing indicating that children are getting on or off the bus. Wait for all children to get off the bus and for the bus driver to give the ‘all clear’ before continuing to drive. When stopping to let children on and off a bus, a good rule of thumb is to give at least 10 feet around the school bus to allow the children to safely enter and exit. Be aware that children are unpredictable and may ignore hazards when getting on and off the bus.
Be Aware of Bicyclists on the Road.
In addition to buses and cars on the road, it is important that drivers are aware of children riding bikes to school. Children are not always aware of the rules of the road when riding a bike. In addition, bikes can stop quickly and without warning, and if a driver is not paying attention, this sudden stop can mean a collision with a bicyclist. Leave extra distance, and when approaching an intersection, assume the bicyclist will turn, even if he or she is not indicating an upcoming turn.
There Will be More Teen Drivers on the Road.
Another risk to motorists and pedestrians once school begins is the number of young drivers on the road. While, yes, teen drivers have completed driver’s education and have training, this does not mean that they will be careful when on the road or when exiting a school parking lot.
School Zone Safety Tips
Whether you are driving through a school zone or dropping a student off at school, extra attention must be paid. Be sure to adhere to all school zone signs and signals.
Here are a few additional driving reminders.
- Slow down and follow and obey the posted speed limits.
- Never pass other cars or school buses.
- Watch out for crossing guards and watch for their signals.
- Avoid texting or using cell phones while driving in a school zone or at any other time.
- Never change lanes in a school zone.
- Follow all school drop off procedures.
- Avoid handicap and emergency vehicle lanes or spaces when dropping off or picking up a student.
Advice for Parents with Young Children
Parents of younger kids, especially those going to school for the first time, should make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 911. Teach them not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they do not know.
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If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, it is very important to consult with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney immediately. Florida auto accident victims have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident, so it is important you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients. Contact us today and speak with an experienced .
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