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Back-to-School Safe Driving Tips

Published: Aug 29, 2022 in Auto Accident
East St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers at the Cates Law Firm Represent Those Injured in Back-to-School Accidents.

For parents and their school-aged children, it is time to rev up the engine on the family car and head back to school. Summertime has unofficially ended. Kids are back to school. As a result, parents are pulling double duty trying to balance the beginning of the school routine, work, and everything else it is that parents do. What sometimes gets overlooked in all the chaos is the matter of safety.

Commuters, parent ‘chauffeurs,’ bus drivers, and children who walk to school are all returning to the roads and school zones. Many children who are hit by cars are struck near schools. A study done by Safe Kids Worldwide found that 20 percent of the students who were observed walking to school were distracted while crossing the street in a school zone. The study revealed that most of the distracted students were either texting or using headphones; some were talking on cell phones. Distracted pedestrians are still given the right of way, necessitating extra caution when driving through school zones.

What Steps Should Parents Take Before the Start of School?

The first thing that parents should do to prepare is to learn the route to school and everything it entails. Practice driving the route at the same time of day you will be taking your children to school to learn rush-hour traffic and transportation patterns – you do not want to discover that your commute coincides with a public bus route on the first day of school rush.

If you are a parent who is driving your children to school, you should learn the drop-off procedures set by the school, including the crosswalks and other markers inside the school zone.

If your children are walking to or from school, discuss some safety tips with them:

  • Only cross streets and roads at intersections
  • Observe traffic signals and obey crossing guards
  • Do not wear headphones while walking to or from school as the distraction could cause an accident
  • Refrain from texting or talking on cell phones for the same reason – distractions while walking can prevent one from seeing an oncoming car.
  • Explain to your children to walk on the sidewalk – not in the road.
  • Emphasize to your children that they must stay away from strangers, especially cars that approach them.
  • Have your children walk in groups when at all possible.

If your children take the bus, discuss with them the following safety guidelines:

  • Remain at the bus stop and do not stand in the street while waiting.
  • Wait for the bus to fully stop and extend its stop arm before approaching it.
  • When getting off the bus, children should look both ways before crossing the street and wait for the cue to cross from the driver.
  • If they must walk in front of the bus, they should walk at least ten feet from the bus to make sure that the bus driver sees them.

If your children are riding a bicycle to school, make sure they have the right gear in addition to knowing the safety rules.

  • The most important bicycle-riding gear is a well-fitting helmet with an attached chin strap that is securely tightened.
  • Make sure they know to ride in the same direction as traffic and observe all traffic signals and signs.
  • Teach them to use bike lanes when possible
  • Bike riders should never use a cell phone or other electronic device when in motion. If they need to answer a call, teach them to stop and make the call out of the flow of traffic.

What Precautions Should You Take When Driving Your Children to School?

First and foremost, do not rush when taking children to school. With increased traffic and pedestrians on streets and roads during the commute to and from school, the risk of accidents increases. Be aware of the normal walking paths that school children take when walking to school near your home or along your commute.

When entering a school zone, drive slowly. Observe and obey the posted speed limit. Keep your foot on or near your brake and keep looking in all directions for the children who might not be paying attention to traffic.

Make sure to stop for blinking lights near crosswalks, and do not block the crosswalk, as this could cause children to run out into intersections or between cars. Keep on the lookout for crossing guards, children running out between parked cars, and vehicles making sudden stops.

You should always stay a safe distance behind a school bus. Leave more room than you normally would for other vehicles. When a bus flashes its yellow lights, start slowing down, and never try to pass it before it stops.

When a school bus is stopped with its stop sign out or red lights flashing, remain stopped, and remain at least 20 feet from the back of the bus. Do not resume driving until you are sure that every child is safely off the street and that the bus has removed its stop signals and has started to move.

When dropping off your children, do not drop them off across the street from school. When in the drop-off area, be sure to drop them off to a sidewalk where there are no passing vehicles, and do not double park, as it could block the visibility of children and other vehicles.

Avoid distractions at all costs. Stay off your cell phone. If you must make a call, or otherwise need to take your eyes off the road for another task, pull off the road.  Stay alert of any distracted or inexperienced drivers who may be taking to the road for the first time to go back to school.

East St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers at the Cates Law Firm Represent Those Injured in Back-to-School Accidents.

If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another driver, you need a competent lawyer on your side. Our experienced East St. Louis car accident lawyers at the Cates Law Firm will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 618-277-3644 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, serve Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.