Back to School Safety: Tips for Drivers and Students in School Zones

With the return of students to their classrooms, it’s important for both drivers and students to be mindful of safety, especially in and around school zones. These areas require heightened attention and caution to ensure the well-being of everyone involved. Here are some essential safety tips for drivers, students, and guardians to ensure a smooth and secure transition back to school.

Tips For Drivers

  1. Mind the Speed Limit: School zones are designated with reduced speed limits for a reason. Typically, these limits are lower during school hours to provide a safer environment for students and pedestrians. Always obey these speed limits, and be prepared to slow down even further if the traffic flow demands it.

  2. Stay Alert: Distracted driving is a significant hazard, particularly in school zones. Put away your phone, avoid adjusting the radio, and focus solely on the road. Children can be unpredictable, and their actions might require split-second reactions to prevent accidents.

  3. Obey Crossing Guards: Crossing guards are there to facilitate the safe crossing of students. Follow their signals without question and wait for their signal before proceeding, even if the road seems clear.

  4. Stop for School Buses: If a school bus is stopped with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended, all traffic – from both directions – must come to a complete stop. This ensures that children can safely cross the road without any risks.

  5. Use Extra Caution during Arrival and Dismissal Times: School zones can be especially chaotic during the times when students are being dropped off or picked up. Be patient, follow traffic rules, and avoid double-parking or stopping in prohibited areas, as this can create hazardous situations for students.

  6. Yield to Pedestrians: Pedestrian right-of-way is paramount in school zones. Always yield to pedestrians, especially at crosswalks and intersections. Exercise additional caution in areas with higher foot traffic.

  7. Expect the Unexpected: Children can sometimes act impulsively or unpredictably. Be prepared for sudden movements and be extra vigilant around parked cars, as children might emerge from between them.

  8. Avoid U-Turns and Three-Point Turns: These maneuvers can be risky in school zones. They might obstruct the view of pedestrians or other drivers, potentially leading to accidents.

Tips For Students

  1. Cross at Crosswalks: Always use crosswalks when crossing the street. Cross only when the signal indicates it’s safe to do so, and make sure to look both ways before stepping onto the road.

  2. Avoid Distractions: Just like drivers, students should avoid distractions while walking near traffic. Keep phones, headphones, and other devices stowed away to stay aware of your surroundings.

  3. Walk on Sidewalks: Whenever possible, use sidewalks rather than walking in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the shoulder facing oncoming traffic.

  4. Be Visible: If you’re walking or biking, wear bright, easily visible clothing during the day, and use reflective materials or lights in low-light conditions to ensure drivers can see you.

  5. Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially near roadways. Look both ways before crossing the street, and never assume that a driver can see you or will stop for you.

  6. Cross with Care: If there are no crosswalks available, choose a well-lit area with good visibility, and cross the street with extreme caution. Wait for a gap in traffic, and always prioritize your safety.

  7. Don’t Distract Drivers: Avoid sudden movements or darting into the road. Make sure drivers see you before you cross in front of them.

  8. Follow Crossing Guard Instructions: If there’s a crossing guard at your school, obey their signals and directions at all times. They are there to help ensure your safety.

Tips For Parents and Guardians

  1. Teach Safety: Educate your children about the importance of following safety rules when walking or biking to school. Role-play crossing streets safely and looking out for traffic.

  2. Supervise Younger Children: If your child is younger and not yet comfortable crossing streets alone, accompany them to ensure their safety.

  3. Use Designated Drop-Off Areas: When dropping off or picking up your children, use designated areas to avoid causing traffic congestion and unsafe conditions for other students.

  4. Model Safe Behavior: Children often mimic the behaviors they see around them. Set an example by following traffic rules and practicing safe pedestrian behavior.

If Tragedy Strikes, Protect Your Child’s Rights

If the unthinkable does happen and your child is injured on the way to or from school, it is in their best interest that you consult with a qualified injury attorney.

Personal injury law is not about getting money, it is about getting the compensation necessary to ensure your child is able to get all the medical treatment they need and deserve. Injuries can be long-lasting, sometimes requiring extensive physical therapy. We want to make sure your child has access to every treatment that could help them make a full recovery.

Thomas J. Henry is available to assist you and your child 24/7, nights and weekends. Call now to speak to a qualified attorney and help your child get on the road to a full recovery.

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