It’s August and soon our children will be back in school. That means we’ll be sharing the road once again with plenty of pedestrians, buses, and other vehicles.

While we are legally required to slow down, still, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 663 crashes that occurred within a school zone in Texas. Fortunately, no deaths were reported.

However, one can never be too cautious when it comes to driving near children. As per the National Safety Council (NSC), “it’s not just unpredictable elementary kids who walk into harm’s way: Teens between the ages of 15 and 19 account for half of all pedestrian deaths among children.”

Therefore, the car accident attorney at Ramos James Law would like to offer parents and adults a series of tips that will help prevent road accidents during the back-to-school season.

Tips For Every Driver To Know

  • Plan for delays.

Back to school means traffic will once again increase during school drop off and pick up times. It is recommended that you take this into account and leave your house earlier than you regularly would during the summer. This way you can abstain from speeding and reckless driving. Plus, you can make sure to get to your destination in time, without endangering yourself or those around you.

  • Be aware of school buses.

Be extra cautious when driving behind a school bus. Remember that it is illegal to pass when the bus’ stop sign is extended and the lights are flashing. Children may be walking in front of the bus and drivers may not be able to spot them until it is too late. Also, remind your children to never cross a busy road without first looking both ways.

  • Help pedestrians stay safe.

Right before school starts and right after the school day ends, there will be plenty of students, teachers, and families crossing streets. Avoid parking over or stopping right on the crosswalk. This may cause pedestrians to take another route that puts them further out into the street and into harm’s way. Also, never pass a car that has stopped at a crosswalk. Even if you do not see anyone crossing, the car in front has a clearer view of what’s going on.

  • Watch for students and families using bicycles.

Even though cyclists are supposed to follow road rules like cars, many kids are not fully aware of them. Always keep an eye out for children on bikes, particularly near driveways and in parking lots. You should also keep at least three feet between you and a cyclist in case the individual makes any unexpected movements.

For Teens and New Drivers

While it is essential that adult drivers follow the previously mentioned safety tips, it is even more important that parents teach their new teen drivers to be cautious. A crowded road and an inexperienced driver can quickly lead to a serious accident. Because of this, we recommend the following:

  • New drivers should practice their route.

The NSC explains that “teens crash most often because they are inexperienced.” Therefore, it is highly recommended that they practice driving their routes to and from school under the vigilance of a parent or guardian.

  • Teen drivers should refrain from having passengers.

Teens and new drivers have a higher chance of crashing or being involved in an accident due to a lack of experience. Having passengers can cause them to become distracted and increase the chance of an accident. Teens and new drivers should not give rides to friends or younger family members until they have developed enough experience.

  • No cellphones.

This rule is important for individuals of all ages but especially for inexperienced drivers. Not only there is a lack of driving experience but getting distracted by a cell phone or other device is considered reckless driving. Accidents can happen in an instant and a few seconds staring at a phone can be the difference between life or death. Or even when the driver is not involved in an accident, there is still the potential for them to get stopped by a cop and fined up to $200.

For Parents to Consider

  • Practice the walk to school.

If your children walk to school by themselves, you should consider walking with them a couple of times to and from school while pointing out spots where they will need to be careful – such as at crosswalks. Many young children are not aware they must cross the street at the crosswalk neither do they recognize the importance of looking both ways before crossing. Make sure your child knows to do these things for their own safety.

  • Follow the rules when picking up and dropping off.

Make sure to know the school’s picking up and dropping off procedures beforehand. Also, most schools have specific areas designated for pick up/drop off, so parents need to use them accordingly. Likewise, avoid double parking or dropping off your child across the street. It may save you a couple minutes but it can cost a child dearly.

  • Carpooling.

Carpooling helps to reduce traffic and accidents. Team up with other parents and help your kids have a safe trip to school.

By following these simple tips and suggestions, not only are you keeping your own family members safe but other children and the community in general as well.

Unfortunately, while the risk of an accident can be reduced, they can still happen at any time. If you or family member have been involved in a serious car accident and are in need of legal consultation, contact Ramos James Law office today for a free case review.

We are here when you need us the most. Share this blog on your social media to help others avoid car accidents during this back-to-school season. Together we can keep our children safe.