It is that time of year again when parents and children alike get ready for the new routines that going back to school brings. With new school year routines, however, comes more traffic on the roads. New students heading out this school year should keep some things in mind for the congested roads ahead.
The areas around a school are often the most congested areas after going back to school. It is important to know the procedures the school has in place for pick-up and drop-off. Schools try to design these procedures in the safest manner possible and following them is a great start to ensuring the safety of all people on the roads. Children should always be dropped off in the designated area, as this typically is close to the school, so children do not have to cross the street.
Because these areas are so congested, it can be tempting to double park, or park alongside another car already parked at the side of the road, when another spot cannot be found. However, drivers should never do this because it not only blocks the other vehicle from moving and making room for others, but also reduces visibility for the children in the vehicle trying to get to and from the school. Parents should also remember that carpooling is a great option to reduce the number of vehicles outside of the school.
Unfortunately, as the roads around schools become more clogged, children going to and from school are increasingly at risk. According to the National Safety Council, most fatal school bus accidents involve children that are not even on the bus at the time but are walking near it while loading and unloading.
As such, it is important that motorists bear a few things in mind to keep school traffic accidents from happening. Drivers should not pass school buses when they are stopped and loading or unloading children. All school buses have yellow or red lights that flash, and a stop sign usually extends on the side of the bus. Not only will stopping for these signals keep children safe, but it is required by law.
When stopping for buses, it is important to keep clear of ten feet on all sides of the bus. These are areas children are moving through when they get on and off the bus. Motorists need to be patient as children move out of these areas, as children may not detect hazards and risks in the road.
Additionally, when approaching a crosswalk, drivers should remain behind the line. Encroaching into the crosswalk could force children to walk around vehicles and force them into traffic. When vehicles are stopped for pedestrians, others should never try to overtake them, as it may not give them enough time to see the children crossing before striking them.
Lastly, it is important to remember the presence of children on bicycles on the road. Kids typically will not signal as they ride their bikes and can be unpredictable. Motorists should, therefore, always leave three feet between themselves and the cyclist. If opening a car door into traffic, it is also important to check the mirrors before doing so. Cyclists could be traveling in the path of the door and opening it into their paths is very dangerous for them.
Back to school can be an exciting time for everyone. However, before heading out onto the roads, it is important to remember these safety tips so going back to school can remain a time of fun and friends, not become a time of tragedy.