By: Josh Ferrell
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DRIVING TIPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL
After a school year mixed with the uncertainty and chaos created by COVID-19, schools are starting to open in full for the new year. Open schools means increased traffic on the road. For some drivers, it has been a while since they have encountered open and active school zones. The beginning of the school year can be a time of stress and excitement for everyone. In preparation for the new school year, we are providing back to school safety tips for drivers.
We hope you and your loved ones stay safe this school year. If you are injured in an accident that is not your fault, contact the experienced personal injury law team at Ferrell & Brown. We do not charge for initial consultations and will travel to you at home or in the hospital if necessary. We handle personal injury cases all over Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee. There are no fees until you have received your compensation.
WHAT ARE SCHOOL ZONE DRIVING RULES?
School zones and any areas where children are present require additional caution. School zones may have a combination of signs, signals, markings, and occasionally law enforcement presence. All of these are designed to keep drivers and pedestrians safe. Below are some rules for school zones.
Obey Traffic Personnel
If you encounter an area with a volunteer or staff member directing traffic, please adhere to their instruction. You should:
- Stop in obedience to the direction or traffic-control signal of a school crossing guard; and
- Not proceed until the highway is clear of all persons, including, without limitation, the school crossing guard.
Obey Speed Limits
In school zones, the speed limit is either 15 or 25 miles per hour. These speed limits are in effect on school days from shortly before school begins to shortly after school ends.
Some areas use flashing yellow lights to indicate when the speed limit is in effect. These lights may be turned off during hours students are actually in classes. If so, the speed limit then reverts to that posted for non-school hours.
DO DRIVERS HAVE TO STOP FOR SCHOOL BUSES?
All drivers are required to stop for school buses when:
- Students are boarding and departing.
- The bus is displaying its flashing red lights.
- The bus has utilized its “stop” sign.
On divided highways with a median or other physical barrier, traffic moving in the opposite direction does not have to stop. Otherwise, you are required to stop.
Pay special attention around railroad crossings. When you see the round railway crossing sign:
- Slow down.
- Be ready to stop.
- Remember, even if there is no stop signal and no train is coming, passenger buses must stop.
Drivers are urged to pay extra attention any time they see a school bus. Did you know, the greatest risk to a child is approaching or leaving a school bus?
What is a No-Zone?
Safety studies recommend avoiding and/or using caution in the “No-Zone” of a school bus. The “No-Zone” is the area around buses where cars “disappear” into blind spots. If bus drivers cannot see you, the possibility of a collision is greatly increased. The right-side blind spot is doubly dangerous because buses make wide right turns.
Do not “hang out” on either side of buses. Buses have big No-Zones (blind spots) on both sides. They are much larger than your car’s blind spots. If you cannot see the driver’s face in the side view mirror, he or she cannot see you. If that driver needs to swerve or change lanes for any reason, the chances of a collision are greatly increased.
Pass safely! Large vehicles need nearly twice the time and distance to stop as cars. When passing, look for the whole front of the bus in your rearview mirror before pulling into the bus’s lane.
Avoid tailgating! If the bus driver brakes or stops suddenly, you have no place to go and could end up running into them. Never pass behind a bus that is backing up.
Wide Right Turns
Avoid the “squeeze play”! Bus drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left in order to safely make a right turn. Or swing wide to the right to safely make a left turn. They cannot see cars directly behind or beside them. Do not “squeeze” between a bus and the curb.
BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVERS
Drivers have a responsibility to stay safe on the road. When rushing to work or dealing with the stresses of life it is easy to forget about common safety practices. As schools resume, use the following back to school safety tips for drivers.
Watch for Children
According to numerous studies, children can understand basic safety rules but they do not have the judgment to cope with traffic until at least age 10.
- Children assume that if they see the driver, the driver sees them.
- They cannot judge speed and think cars can stop instantly.
- Children are shorter than adults and cannot see over cars, bushes, and other objects.
- They often act before thinking. Children may not do what parents or drivers expect.
Proceed with Caution
Allow extra driving time in the morning and afternoons when schools are in session. Never rush around school zones, busses, or in neighborhoods.
Before backing up, check for children on the sidewalk, in the driveway, and around your vehicle. Take an extra look and drive slowly when leaving driveways and parking spots.
Stay Alert for New and Inexperienced Drivers
The new school year often brings many new and inexperienced drivers to the road. Remember that not all cars on the road will act as expected. While all drivers must follow the rules of the road, young drivers may act less experienced on the roads.
Follow Driving Laws
Following basic traffic laws can keep everyone safe. Remember to do the following:
- Avoid speeding. Especially in school zones and neighborhoods.
- Never run a red light and always come to a complete stop.
- Avoid distracted driving. Put down your cell phone.
- Drive sober. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
SERIOUS INJURIES – REQUIRE SERIOUS ATTORNEYS
Our firm understands the repercussions of a serious accident. If you are injured due to another party’s negligence, you should not have to fight the uphill battle for compensation on your own. When you hire Ferrell & Brown, you are hiring a devoted, caring, and aggressive team who will tenaciously fight for you. If you or someone you know was injured in a wreck and wishes to schedule a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact Ferrell & Brown.