Don’t Let Schools Zones Become Death Zones
Children are far more likely to make mistakes in judgment than adults are, and it is for this reason that the responsibility falls upon adult drivers to exercise particular care in school zones.
Unfortunately, nearly 500 children are injured in car accidents every single day. More children are hit by cars near schools than in any other location – not necessarily due to the frequency of cars in these areas, but due to the number of children present. As drivers, it is our responsibility to watch out for children.
As parents, we must teach children about safely traveling to and from school. The personal injury lawyers at Rasansky Law Firm encourage you to discuss school safety with your child before they head to school on their own.
Safety Talking Points:
- Use designated crosswalks and always look both ways before crossing. If a crossing guard is present, wait for the proper signal that it’s safe to cross the street.
- When getting on and off the school bus, make sure the driver can always see you.
- Make sure your children understand that drivers can’t always see them and that they should never run into the street, especially from between parked cars.
- Teach your child to look for and obey traffic and crossing signals both when walking and when riding their bike.
- Create a specific route for your child to use when walking or biking to school. Travel this route with them until they know it on their own.
As drivers, we need to be responsible and on the lookout for children sharing the streets. Mornings and afternoons are busy times for children going to and from school. Take extra caution during these times of day during the school year.
Critical Tips for Driving Safely Within School Zones and Near School Buses
- Always take note of when you enter a school zone. School zones are typically marked by signs, speed bumps, and flashing yellow lights.
- Slow down. Speed limits in school zones can dip to as low as 10 mph (5 mph in parking lots). Drive slower than the speed limit if conditions so demand.
- Prepare for frequent and perhaps sudden stops, especially near school buses and pedestrian crosswalks.
- Always stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Keep your eye on the overall situation, not just the road. Please take note of children near the road, they may dart out in front of you.
- Obey crossing guards and traffic officers.
- Never pass a bus that is stopped to load or unload children, when the stop sign is extended and the lights are flashing, or you are on an undivided road.
Distracted driving is a particular risk factor for accidents involving children in school zones. There is a reason using your cell phone in school zones is illegal. All it takes is a short lapse in attention to cause a serious injury or even a fatality to a child. Never text or talk on the phone while driving in school zones.
Picking Up and Dropping Off Students
Picking up and dropping off students to and from school is a particular danger for parents, children, and third-party motorists. Here are some ways to reduce that risk:
- Don’t double park, even for a short time – you could block someone’s view that way and end up with an injured child.
- Don’t pick up or drop off children across the street from the school – children shouldn’t have to cross the road to get to you or to the school
- Strictly comply with all school pickup and drop-off procedures. They exist for a reason, even if you don’t understand what that reason is.
Looking out for Bicycles
Children often ride bicycles, both inside and outside of school zones. Train yourself to watch for them and learn exactly where your blind spot is as a motorist. Take particular care when turning left making sure that a bicyclist is not attempting to pass you as you slow down for the turn. Some other safety tips include:
- If a bicyclist is approaching while you prepare for a left or right turn, allow the bicyclist to pass before you make the turn.
- Leave three feet of leeway whenever you pass a bicyclist.
- Always use your turn signals, even if you don’t see a bicycle in the vicinity
- Don’t assume that a bicyclist is not going to turn simply because he doesn’t use a turn signal. Be ready for anything.
- Pay close attention while driving through school zones and residential areas. Anticipate that a bicyclist may pull out suddenly from a driveway or between two parked cars.
- Check your mirrors before you open your car door, even after you stop.
Contact a Dallas Child Injury Lawyer Today
If your child has been injured in an accident, contact our personal injury lawyers experienced with injuries involving children. Call 214-651-6100 to schedule a free initial consultation with us, and remember that we work on a contingency fee basis. Our fee is zero unless you win.[/column]