Use Extra Caution for Back to School Driver Safety to Prevent Car and Pedestrian Accidents
Navigating the back-to-school season presents a fresh set of driving challenges, including increased congestion, the presence of school buses, heightened safety risks, and a greater need for vigilance. These back to school driver safety tips are particularly significant for teenage drivers, many of whom may be embarking on their first driving experiences during this period. It’s crucial to bear in mind that motor vehicle accidents stand as the foremost cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Shockingly, statistics indicate that over 800 students lose their lives annually in such accidents, with an additional 152,000 sustaining injuries while commuting between their homes and schools.
Given these sobering statistics, it’s evident that special attention and heightened caution are paramount. Regardless of your level of driving experience, adhering to these safety reminders is essential to steer clear of auto accidents on Long Island.
The law in every state requires you to stop when a school bus is on-loading and unloading students. When a stopped school bus flashes its red light(s), under New York law, all traffic from all directions must stop. You must stop even if the bus is on the other side of a divided highway. You may think that is ridiculous, but we are dealing with the safety of children and it is the law.
The law also requires you to stop in parking lots if a bus is loading or off-loading. In practice, this is your school’s parking lot. New York law requires you to stop for a bus in a parking lot just like on the roads. In addition, New York law requires you to keep your car 20 feet away — about half a basketball court — a from a bus that is loading or off-loading.
In general, drive slowly around the school buses. Driving extra slow gives you the chance to stop if a young kid does something unpredictable. Do not text or use your phone when you are driving. Seriously, around buses and children, just put the phone down for a few minutes. Do not use ear- or headphones, either. You need to be able to hear warning sounds. You are not allowed to drive while wearing ear- or headphones.
Double-parked cars present an extra hazard, so slow down and be more alert when approaching them. Watch for a door to open quickly and unexpectedly, watch for kids exiting on the street side, watch for children who might dart out in front of you and remember that your visibility is diminished.
20 Miles per Hour in School Speed Zones
The speed limit in school zones is 20 miles per hour. Yes, that is very slow. But, you want to be able to stop if a kid runs out unexpectedly in front of your car. Trust us on this. You really do NOT want to have to face the parent of the child you just hit with your car. Plus, driving 20 miles-per-hour in school zones is the law.
Children Walking and on Bikes
When driving near a school, you have to be extra alert, because the kids themselves are often distracted. You remember what it was like when you were walking or biking or boarding to school. You were listening to music, talking to your friends, and doing your own thing. In short, you were not paying very much attention. Now that you are a driver, you now have pay more attention because the children will not. Young children, in particular, are unpredictable and are more likely than older children to dart out between cars or run unexpectedly into the street. Be extra watchful if young children are present.
Bicycles present an extra hazard, so give them extra room on the roadways. Keep a slow speed and move over a little in your lane as you go around a bicycle.
Your Pals can be Dangerous to You and Others
Finally, be cautious of who you allow to ride in your car. You need to avoid supposed “friends” who want you to drive “fast and furious” or who disrespect your commitment to being a safe driver. If you have a friend like that, put them out of your car and keep them out until they stop applying peer pressure to make you do something that will get someone hurt or killed.
Contact a Long Island Attorney Accident Attorney Today
If you need additional information or want to understand your rights and obligations, including back-to-school driver safety, as a driver or if your child is injured at school, contact an experienced Long Island accident lawyer at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP at (866) 580-1960. We offer free, no-cost/no-obligation consultations and are available 24/7.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900