Back to School Safety: Tips from a Personal Injury Lawyer
A new school year is upon us, and what better time to brush up on your child’s safety? If you are one of the millions of kids going back to school or a parent of one, it’s important to know how to be safe whether you drive, walk, or bike to school. Accidents on the road can be extremely serious, leading to painful injuries and high medical costs. As experienced personal injury lawyers in Riverside, we want to provide back to school safety tips so you don’t end up in the emergency room.
Tip #1: Slow Down in School Zones
Our top tip for school safety is to slow down. School zones are packed with pedestrians and bicyclists, so speeding endangers everyone on the road. The state of California has strict speed limit laws when driving in a school zone when children are present. The speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted within 500 feet of a school. If you are a parent of a teen driver, remind them to take it slow and stay alert on the street and in the parking lot.
Tip #2: Keep Distractions Away
Kids darting into the street, bicyclists riding alongside cars, and crossing guards make school zones extremely busy areas. Put away phones and other distractions that could cause an accident. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes, especially in a school zone.
Avoid using your phone, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, or anything else that takes your eyes or hands off the wheel. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, check your blind spots, and use your turn signals. If you are dropping off or picking up your child, follow the school’s rules and procedures, and do not double park or block the visibility of other drivers.
Tip #3: Stop for School Buses
While the big yellow school bus is hard to miss, it’s important to know what to do if you see a stopped bus with yellow flashing lights or red flashing lights. If the yellow lights are flashing, it means the bus is preparing to stop. They are to warn drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. If the bus is flashing red lights and the stop arm is extended, all traffic must stop in both directions. Never pass a bus from behind if it’s stopped to load or unload children. The only exception is if you are on a divided highway with two or more lanes in each direction, then you do not need to stop if you are on the opposite side of the road from the bus. Failing to stop for a school bus can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a driving suspension of up to one year.
Tip #4: Pay Attention to Crosswalks and Crossing Guards
Crosswalks and crossing guards are there to help students cross the street safely and efficiently. You must always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, whether they are marked or unmarked. You must also obey the signals and directions of the crossing guard, who have the authority to stop and direct traffic. Do not block the crosswalk with your vehicle, or make a turn that endangers a pedestrian. Be patient and courteous, and remember that children may not always act predictably or follow the rules.
Tip #5: Teach Your Kids How to Be Safe
One of the best ways to prevent accidents is to educate your kids about the potential dangers and how to avoid them. Talk to your kids about the importance of following traffic laws, being alert, and staying away from strangers. You can also practice walking or biking the route with them before school starts, and point out any hazards or tricky spots. Make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency, such as calling 911 or finding a trusted adult.
Tips for Walking and Biking to School
For parents with children who walk or bike to school, teach them these important bicycle and pedestrian safety tips!
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the street facing traffic.
- Cross at a marked crosswalk or intersection. Never run across a busy street.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing so cars can easily see you.
- When riding a bike, always wear a properly fitted helmet.
- Ride your bike on the right side of the road and in the same direction as traffic.
- Use hand signals when turning to let drivers know what you’re doing.
- Encourage the buddy system. Walk or bike with a friend or in a group – it’s safer.
- Arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes early. Listen to the bus driver and wait for the bus to make a complete stop before boarding.
Sycamore Accident Lawyers
Despite the best prevention, accidents can still happen. If you or your child are injured by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A personal injury lawyer can help you protect your rights and get the justice you deserve. At Sycamore Accident Lawyers, we have the experience and skills to handle any type of personal injury case, from car accidents to bicycle collisions. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us unless we win your case. Contact our Riverside personal injury law firm today at (909) 703-2420.