Practicing Back to School Safety on the Road
The leaves are changing, and that means children are returning to school once again. Because children are not as diligent about observing their surroundings as adults, they often run the risk of making mistakes in judgment while walking to school, taking the bus, or other outside activities. Whether you’re driving or you have kids of your own, you will need to take special precautions to ensure they are not injured in a car accident. According to the CDC, in 2015 one in five children killed in car accidents were also pedestrians.
While many of these incidents occurred with the child inside the vehicle, a substantial portion happen in school zones. If it happens to your child, our Kansas City car accident attorneys can help you determine who is liable. In this post, we’ll discuss some safety tips for helping children to observe the rules of the road, as well as review some of the basics for drivers.
How to Drive Safely in School Zones
Taking extra care in school zones can do more than help you avoid a costly ticket: It can actually save a child’s life. While school areas are typically marked by signs and other indicators, it’s all too easy to ignore those as you’re driving down a busy road, or trying to get to work in the morning. The AAA has found that 1 in 4 child pedestrian fatalities occurred during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Some of the best ways to avoid causing a tragic accident include:
- Pay attention. It may seem self-evident, but the absolute best way to prevent injury to yourself and to others is to be vigilant while driving, and avoid dangerous and illegal distractions such as texting and talking on the phone.
- Observe the lowered speed limit. School zones have lowered speed limits for a reason, to protect children who might dart out unexpectedly in front of a speeding vehicle. Additionally, speed is exponential, so even if you only reduce your speed by 10 miles per hour, you could prevent a child from receiving worse injuries in a potential collision.
- Keep an eye out for bicycles. Many children ride bikes to school, so it’s important to keep your rear and side view mirrors clean and angled correctly so you can spot them. Check your blind spots, and always make sure you know what’s happening around your car, especially in a school zone.
- Always stop at the designated line. Even if there are no children currently running around a crosswalk, it’s critical that you stop at all appointed areas. You may not be able to see a child coming your way.
Helping Your Children to Understand School Zone Safety
We know it can be difficult to instill in kids a sense of the danger posed by cars and other adults, but it’s critical to ensuring that they’re safe as they return to school. Even if your child does not walk to and from your house, riding a school bus can pose a series of risks to unwary children too.
Some good tips to discuss with your child include:
- Use crosswalks to cross the street. Children need to know to look both ways and carefully observe when it is safe to move across the street, even on a crosswalk.
- Obey traffic signals and signs. Walking through some of the basics of traffic signals and signs with your children is one of the best ways to help prevent an accident.
- Make yourself visible to cars and/or a school bus driver. Because children are small, it’s important they understand that cars can’t always see them, especially behind another parked car on the road. School buses also have significant blind spots, and because children load and unload from them regularly, tragedy can result if your child isn’t paying attention.
- Use the same route. It’s a good idea to do practice runs with your child as they walk to school, or to and from the bus stop. Using the same route will help them to gain familiarity with the roads and hazards in your area, and ultimately could prevent a tragic accident.
Even with exercising due precaution, it’s possible your child could be injured in a car accident. If it happens to you, make sure to take action against any negligent parties. Our Kansas City car accident attorneys at DiPasquale Moore offer free consultations.