Alarm clocks, hurried parents, groggy kids hunting for missing shoes, and a messy breakfast. This is the scene in countless homes during the transition from the easygoing days of summer to the frenzy of a new school year. Added to that, a new school year comes with its share of dangers. Fortunately, following these helpful tips improves safety for everyone sharing the roads during the school year.
Back-to-School Accident Hazards
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in five children under the age of fifteen killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians. Simple yet effective methods prevent unnecessary mishaps. Keep your kids safe by teaching them safe walking and biking rules and techniques. Here are a few to review with your children:
- Stop, look, and listen at all road crossings.
- Put away distractions such as cell phones.
- Make sure you have on reflective gear and lights when biking.
- Review bicycle safety laws.
Carpooling is an effective option to reduce traffic. Sadly, the National Safety Council reports that car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens. If your child is driving to school, review safe driving tips, including no phone use while driving, no loud music, and following speed limits.
With these risks in mind, Attorney Michael Timberlake offered his own back to school safety tips to consider.
Beware of Flashing Lights
School buses and school zones in the mornings and afternoons will increase traffic and even delay your commute to and from work. Practice extreme caution when driving in or near school zones and buses.
Flashing lights on a school bus serve as warnings to drivers. Most will flash amber/yellow lights as an indicator the bus is preparing to stop to load/unload children. Red flashing lights indicate the bus is stopped for children to exit the bus.
Alabama law forbids drivers from passing a stopped school bus. Drivers must remain stopped until the bus is back in motion. This law also applies to drivers on the opposite side of the road, unless you are on the other side of a road divided by a physical barrier or unpaved median.
Here are some tips for driving in or near school zones:
- Be prepared for kids to appear suddenly from between parked cars.
- If children are on bikes, anticipate them suddenly turning in front of you without looking.
- Always be prepared to stop quickly.
Additional Back to School Safety Tips
Here are a few additional tips to help you and your loved ones have a safe school year:
- Only cross streets at crosswalks.
- Pay attention to crossing guards.
- Children should use the buddy system when walking or riding bikes to school.
- Leave earlier than usual for work.
- Don’t text while driving.
- Stop and yield to pedestrians crossing at crosswalks and intersections.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
- Never pick up or drop off kids across the street from the school.
- Slow down and drive cautiously.
Each new school year means kids will be walking, biking, driving, and horsing around on their way to school. We all have a responsibility to take care of children. First, by prioritizing their safety. Second, by giving them the tools and knowledge, they need to safely navigate the roads themselves each school year.
If you or your child is injured in a traffic accident this school year, please contact the experienced attorneys at Timberlake & League for a free legal consultation. We can help.