Back-to-School Safety

by Amber Cortez | August 9th, 2016 | Blog

In a couple of weeks, the streets will once again be flooded with students, cars, pedestrians, bike riders, and first time drivers.  Getting everybody safely to school (and work) and home again is the responsibility of every driver on the road.

But with a large population of teens and college-aged students having access to a car, the reality is that you must be even more diligent while driving during the school year.

Before hitting the road, or handing those keys over to your teenager or college student, you should know some facts.  Auto accidents are the leading cause for teenagers 15 to 20 and statistics have shown that young adults are much more likely to engage in drunk driving, fatigued driving, and distracted driving, which includes using their cellphone to talk or send text messages.

At J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys, we know that you’re extra attentive when it comes to school zones and dropping off your kids, but sometimes accidents happen.  That’s why the personal injury lawyers at J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys are here to help you in case of an emergency.

Watch for pedestrians.

Students of all ages, from elementary up to college, tend to focus their attention on friends, talking, and using their cellphones.  This means their eyes are on everything else except the road.  That’s why as a driver, you must be exceedingly cautious around pedestrians, especially children and teenagers, who can act erratically and dash on to the road in an attempt to cross the street.  Be vigilant while driving in school zones or around colleges and universities, because even older students can forget the need for safety while crossing streets with heavy traffic.

Drive safely around school buses.

More than 25 million children ride school buses each day.  This is in fact the largest form of mass transportation in the United States.  Because children gather around bus stops before school, where they talk and horseplay, drivers must be wary of unpredictable behavior or actions at these sites.  Also, children tend to walk in front of the bus when dropped off after school.  This means drivers cannot see the children until they are on the road, which has led to one too many tragedies.

Thus, drivers need to follow the laws when traveling behind school buses.  All 50 states have made it illegal to pass any school bus that has stopped.  Yet time and time again, we hear about accidents that occur because motorists failed to pay heed to school bus warnings.  Look out for those flashing lights and the busses’ stop signs.

Don’t rush.

We know that the morning time can be hectic for any family.  With drop offs at multiple sites, and the usual morning rush traffic, it’s easy to get frustrated and make a mistake.  But when you’re behind the wheel remember – that mistake can be fatal.

Never honk the horn, rev the engine, “peel out”, or yell out the window in an attempt to make children hurry.  Intimidating a child into action may cause them to make an unpredictable move on to the street, which can lead to injury or death.  If you find yourself rushing every morning, then reconsider your wake up time to ensure that your safety, and the safety of others, is not jeopardized.

Pay attention at school crossings and crosswalks.

Marked school zones tend to be placed between stoplights, which flash and warn motorists to be alert.  It is essential you pay heed to these warnings and yield to all pedestrians.  These lights are not an option and all drivers must follow the rules to protect the safety of school children.

Also, when nearing a stoplight or stop sign, make sure to not pass into the crosswalk lines.  By blocking a crosswalk, you force children and other pedestrians to step out further into the street, which can lead to safety issues.

Sharing the road.

It’s essential to remember that cars are not the only ones on the road.  Cyclists also share the road and need to be taken into consideration while driving.

Though bicyclists must obey the same regulations and laws as traditional motorists, the reality is that both parties tend to bend the rules at time.  Unfortunately, this means that you as a driver must be exceedingly observant when driving near schools, parks, or residential areas.

Not only can bicyclists be difficult to see, especially at night, those riding bikes are apt to make unexpected movements at crosswalks, roadways, and sidewalks.  Motorists must also consider that even a “tap” from a car can cause serious injury to a bicyclist because of the sheer difference in size and weight.

So be exceedingly cautious, especially when turning, and check all mirrors before making a move.

Be Prepared

Accidents occur, but you want to be as diligent a driver as possible in order to keep children, pedestrians, and other motorists safe.

Also, because teens make up the largest percentage of distracted drivers, with 56% admitting to talking on cell phones while driving and 13% admitting to texting while behind the wheel, you’ll want to have a lengthy discussion to your teen-driver about safety.

Remind them to:

  • Keep their eyes on the road at all times as interacting with passengers is the number one reason for crashes.
  • Never look at or text on their cellphone as this is the second highest reason for crashes.
  • Never search for items, attempt to groom, or stare at something in the vehicle while driving.

Regardless of how careful you and your child may be while driving, the sad truth is that far too many motorists drive recklessly. Somebody else’s negligence may cause tragic injury to you or a loved one.

When this happens, you need a law firm that will fight for the truth.  A law firm that will fight for you.  J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys understands the legal ring and can help you get the justice, and compensation, you or your loved one deserves.


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