School is back in session and that means heavy traffic congestion in and around schools, kids rushing to walk or bike to school on time and harried parents dropping and picking kids up before rushing to work. Especially in the first couple of weeks of school – but really all year during drop off and pick up times – it is very important for drivers to slow down and use extra caution when passing a school or school zone. School driving safety tips are essential to reducing the number of car accidents in and around schools.
School drop-off and pick-up safety
According to the National Safe Routes to School program, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. If you drive past schools during drop-off or pick-up times; slow down and be vigilant about looking around. Be prepared to brake quickly if a child jets out from behind a car or school bus.
If you are a parent of a school-aged child who is handling drop-off or pick-up, you should familiarize yourself with your school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures at the beginning of each school year and follow them closely.
Drivers should note the following rules that apply to all school zones:
- No double parking: it reduces visibility for children and other vehicles
- Carpool or walk if possible
- Do not unload children across the street from the school
Safety tips for driving near young children
According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the people who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are children 4 to 7 years old who are walking near a bus. These children are typically either hit by a bus or by a driver who is illegally passing a parked bus.
Use these driving tips when small children are present:
- Always yield to children and school patrol officers or crossing guards entering a cross-walk
- Never block a cross-walk when stopped at a light or waiting to make a turn
- Drive slowly and be on the lookout for children
- Don’t honk, rev your engine or act otherwise aggressively as you could scare a small child or cause a car or pedestrian accident
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
Driving tips for sharing the road with school buses
- When driving behind a bus, leave a bigger distance than if you were driving behind a car. The distance allows more time to stop once the bus lights start flashing.
- Never pass a bus that is stopped to load or unload children; it is illegal in all 50 states.
- If the bus’ yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.
- Be aware that the area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop at least 15 feet back to allow the children space to safely enter and exit the bus.
- Be on the look-out for kids running out from the front or back of a bus.
Driving tips for sharing the road with kids on bikes
Sharing the road with adults on bikes has its challenges let alone sharing the road with kids on bikes who may be even less aware of the cars and traffic conditions around them. The bottom line is that bikes are smaller than cars and can be hard to see. Drivers should know that the most common cause of a bike accident with a driver is when a driver turns left in front of a bicyclist.
- Always use your turn signals with enough warning
- If you need to pass a bicyclist proceed past them slowly in the same direction, leaving three feet between your vehicle and the bicycle.
- If a bicyclist is approaching from the opposite direction while you are waiting to turn left, wait for them to pass.
- If you are about to turn right and you see a bicyclist approaching from behind on the right, let them go through the intersection.
- Be on the lookout for bicyclists turning in front of you without signaling; this is especially common with children.
- Watch for bikes entering the road from driveways or behind parked cars or buses.
- Check your side mirror for an oncoming bicyclist before opening your car door.
If your child was involved in a pedestrian accident around school grounds, contact a child injury lawyer today.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!