Back to School Driving Safety Tips
During the school season, it is important to exercise caution and to know how to properly navigate in school zones. There are also several laws regarding driving with school buses that you should be aware of. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 65,000 pedestrian injuries in 2014 alone in the United States. Furthermore, the National Safety Council (NSC) has estimated that most children who die in school bus accidents are between 4 and 7 years of age, and they are usually walking. Kids can be very unpredictable, and they may dart into traffic or cross the street in dangerous locations. It is up to drivers to take action to help prevent a serious incident.
How to Safely Share the Road with a School Bus
During the school year, many buses are on the road picking up and dropping off kids. It is important for drivers to exercise caution and obey all the laws regarding school buses. It is illegal to pass a school bus that has its lights flashing and stop signs extended. This applies to traffic going both directions on an undivided road.
There are several steps you can take to safely share the road with a school bus:
- Keep at least 10 feet between your car and the school bus while driving
- Go slow and proceed with caution
- Stop if the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop signs are extended
- Leave at least 10 feet between your car and the bus to allow plenty of room for children to walk
How to Safely Share the Road with Young Pedestrians
Children often lack the ability to judge traffic conditions, and they may make unsafe decisions that put them in danger. As a driver, it is important to exercise caution to avoid an accident, particularly around parks, playgrounds, and schools.
When driving in areas with lots of young pedestrians, you need to:
- Reduce your speed
- Stop well behind crosswalks to give pedestrians plenty of room to walk
- Avoid distractions and stay focused on the road
- Obey crossing guards
- Stop and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks when flashers are blinking
- Never pass another vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians
How to Safely Share the Road with Young Bicyclists
Bicyclists must abide by the same traffic rules as drivers. However, since bicycles are small, they are more difficult to see than passenger vehicles. There are several ways you can increase your safety and avoid a bicycle accident.
When sharing the road with bicyclists, it is important to:
- Leave at least 3 feet of room between your car and the bike as you pass
- Be careful and check your side mirrors when opening your car door
- Watch for bicyclists coming out from between parked cars or driveways
- Let bicyclists pass you before making a turn in an intersection
A Word About Carpooling
Carpooling is a great way to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. It is important to avoid dropping your kids off across the street from the school. You also need to avoid double parking, as this could block visibility for children and other vehicles nearby. By following the safety tips listed above, you can do your part to help make the roads a safer place during the school year.
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