Life moves a little slower in the summer. Children are out of school and parents may enjoy lighter summer work schedules. Families take long awaited vacations and traffic eases up. Then, suddenly, a new school year begins. Here are a few safety tips for back-to-school driving.
School Zone Speed Limits
The speed limit in school zones in Pennsylvania is 15 mph for the safety of children who walk or ride bicycles to school. On many roads, the speed limit suddenly drops from 40 or 45 mph to 15 mph in a school zone. Slow down and be aware that the school zone extends for some distance before and after school grounds.
In many towns, school zone speed limits are suspended when school is not in session. However, some states are proposing year-round school zone speed limits to avoid motorist confusion and increase pedestrian safety.
School Bus Safety
Stop for school buses that are picking up or dropping off children. If you fail to do so, the resulting citation includes fines and points on your license that will result in increased car insurance rates. More importantly, children anticipate that motorists will stop. Failing to stop when school bus lights are flashing can result in fatal injuries to a child.
Motorists should also pay close attention to school bus stops. In some towns, there may be 15 or more children standing on one corner, often with little or no adult supervision. Children are notorious for pushing, shoving, and horseplay. Be aware that a child could suddenly trip or fall into the line of traffic and be ready to brake.
Distracted Drivers and Distracted Walkers
Children are distracting – don’t add to that by using cell phones or other devices while driving. In addition to being illegal, using cell phones while driving increases the likelihood of an accident. Children can be unpredictable, so do not assume that they will act responsibly while crossing the street or waiting at bus stops. Be alert always.
Be aware of distracted walkers. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, the pedestrian fatality rate for 12 to 19-year-old middle schoolers and high schoolers increased 13 percent in two years. Children are often distracted by texting on their cell phones while walking to school. They may step out into traffic, trip and fall off a curb, or fail to notice a car backing up.
Backing Up, Looking Down
When backing up, always check for children and proceed slowly. Children may bend down to pick up items they drop while walking behind your car. If your car has a backup camera, be sure to check it.
If you see a child on a bicycle, slow down and give at least four feet of passing distance when you pass in your vehicle. It is the law in Pennsylvania. Be alert that a child bicyclist may swerve into traffic to avoid an obstacle.
Dropping Children Off at School
If you are a parent, be sure to follow the school’s drop off and pick up procedure. These procedures are in place to protect children from unexpected driving maneuvers and obstacles such as double parking, stopping in crosswalks, and stopping to let children off in non-designated drop-off areas.
New School Year – New Drivers
The new school year often brings new and inexperienced student drivers. Look out for them. Teenage drivers may be nervous and unsure or overly confident and impulsive. They are easily distracted. Watch for unexpected maneuvers and use defensive driving tactics.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Advocate for Injured Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, our experienced Delaware County car accident lawyers are prepared to help you. McCann & Wall, LLC lawyers will assist you when a car accident causes injury, damage to your car, lost wages, insurance disputes, or other issues. Contact us online or call our Philadelphia office at 215-515-2236 to schedule a free consultation.