Fall is approaching and thoughts are turning to apples, changing leaves and Friday night Football! But it also means that our children have returned to school and traffic is increasingly becoming more congested. The National Safety Council (NSC) recently released some seasonal safety tips to keep in mind.
School Drop Offs
If you are dropping your children off to school, make sure you know your child’s specific school procedures. A few ideas to keep in mind for every school zone:
- Never double park as you can block visibility for children and other vehicles.
- Do not load or unload your children across the street from the school.
- Try to carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school during these busy times.
The NCS’s recent research indicated that most of the children that lose their lives in bus-related incidents were between the ages of 4-7 and were walking when struck by a bus, or vehicle illegally passing a bus. Please keep these tips in mind to prevent these types of tragedies:
- Never block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, This forces pedestrians to go around you potentially putting them in the path of moving traffic.
- When flashers are blinking in a school zone, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
- Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas. Especially during the beginning of the school day and the end.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
- Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.
The most important thing to note, is that in all 50 states, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Other important facts to heed:
- Do not pass a bus from behind, or from either direction if you are on an undivided road, while it is stopped to load or unload children.
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, all traffic must stop. Keep in mind, if you are following a bus to leave plenty of space so that you have time to stop when this occurs.
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children that are entering and exiting the bus.
- Always be on alert. Children are unpredictable and often ignore hazards and take risks.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles when on the roadway. However, they are difficult to see and children riding bikes create even more hazards as they are not typically able to determine road hazards. Exercise extra care by following these rules of thumb:
- When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly leaving at least 3 feet between your vehicle and the cyclist.
- When turning left and a bicycle is approaching from the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
- If you are turning right, and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, wait for the rider to go through the intersection first and ALWAYS use your signals.
- Watch for riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling, children especially have a tendency to do this.
- Be on high alert in school zones and residential areas.
- Watch driveways and behind parked cars for bicyclists.
- Check side mirrors before opening your door.
A little extra patience can go a long way in all of these situations and your vigilance can help prevent tragedy. If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident, or struck as a pedestrian, or bicyclist, call me, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay! ®
Author: Tim Misny | For more than 37 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877-944-4373.