The kids are finally back in school again. If your district is holding in-person classes, that means you’re about to venture back into hectic drop-off and pickup situations. After a year and a half away, it’s time for drivers and pedestrians to brush up on their accident avoidance skills.
This guide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a good reminder that school zones can be dangerous. Every year, hundreds of children and teen pedestrians are killed by cars. Read on to learn how to avoid dangerous situations, parent and child alike.
- Beware of distracted driving. Distracted driving is rampant these days. Whether people are using their phones, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio, or threatening to pull the car over, the end result is the same. When you’re driving in a school zone, it’s crucial that you stay vigilant. Children are prone to darting out in front of cars. If you’re looking down at your phone, you could miss it—with devastating results.
- Watch out for distracted pedestrians. Drivers aren’t the only people who aren’t paying attention. Distracted pedestrians are also a problem, whether they’re a five-year-old chasing a ball or an adult wearing earbuds. If you’re a pedestrian, stay alert; especially at intersections. Keep earphones at a reasonable level. When crossing the street, make eye contact with the driver to make sure they see you—and wait until they stop. When you’re a driver, keep an eye on people who seem oblivious to the rules of the road.
- Obey school zone traffic laws. School zone speed limits and driving behind school buses might be a pain, but the laws exist to protect us all. You are much less likely to seriously injure a child when driving 25 mph or slower. Similarly, school bus traffic laws exist to ensure safe pickup and drop-offs for our children.
- Help your kids navigate drop-off and pickup. Do your children know how to handle themselves in drop-off and pickup zones? Teach them to look both ways before crossing, and to wait until you reach the curb to get in the car. If there are other hazards in these zones, make sure your kids understand how to safely navigate them.
Since children are too immature to fully appreciate risk, it’s incumbent upon drivers to take special care. Your vigilance will help prevent senseless injuries.
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