Traffic congestion spikes with the start of every school year. The big yellow school buses come back into circulation, kids on bikes are more prevalent en route to class, and parents dropping off their children are in a hurry to get the kids to school and start their own day at work or doing projects at home.
Relying on everyone else to pay attention for you never works—that kind of attitude could endanger you and them. Slow down and pay attention whenever kids are present, particularly before and after school hours, and you may just avoid disaster.
For the safety of their students, schools usually have specific procedures for parents who prefer to drop their kids off each morning. More kids are hit by cars near schools than in any other location and according to the National Safe Routes to School program, the following apply to all school zones:
Per research conducted by the National Safety Council, most children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4-7 years old and on foot. More often than not, they are hit by a school bus or by car illegally passing a stopped bus. They are small and therefore difficult to see and may not have the forethought to check the street before stepping out. Here are a few tips that will help you stay cautious around buses and serve as a reminder on how to keep our smallest pedestrians safe:
As you would with a semi-truck, keep a greater following distance between yourself and a school bus than you might with another car. You’ll have more time to stop once their lights start flashing and they slow down for a pickup that way—it is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. You should never pass a bus from behind or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road if it’s stopped to pick up or drop off passengers. Additionally:
Bicyclists for the most part have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but they can be exponentially harder to see. Children riding bicycles can be even more difficult to see—that combined with kids typically being less mindful of traffic conditions and timing create the makings for a potential catastrophe. The most common cause of a collision between a car and cyclist is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist. To avoid a crash:
Exercising additional caution with the start of the new school year is always smart and you and other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians will be happy you did. If you’ve been in an accident and have sustained injuries or damage to your property, contact Boughter Sinak, LLC, today for a free consultation.
Image Credit: First Student Inc.