The end of summer means the beginning of a new school year, and with the start of school comes plenty of uncertainty. With new school schedules, routines, and, in some cases, locations, the chaos of traveling to and from school during the first few weeks is at an all-time high, and it could be dangerous for drivers.
Safety for children attending school is the number one concern for all parents, schools, and members of the community. It is critical that everyone takes a step back and considers some safety tips for traveling on the roads during the upcoming school year.
Driving Near School Buses
Driving near school buses demands that drivers show extra caution; there are kids onboard. To help ensure the safety of children, Pennsylvania, like other states, has specific laws for driving near school buses.
You must stop for a school bus when it has its red signal lights flashing and stop-arm extended. It does not matter in which direction adjacent to the bus you are traveling, behind it or driving in the opposite direction, you must stop.
When you are behind a stopped school bus, you must stop 10 feet behind it and not move. You cannot begin to move until its red signal lights stop flashing and stop-arm is retracted.
You must also wait until all the children approaching the bus are boarded, or until all the children getting off the bus have reached the sidewalk. You should always look out for children who may be crossing the street trying to make the bus when it is in motion or is not using its stop signals.
Driving in School Zones
The speed limit in Pennsylvania for driving in school zones is 15 miles per hour. This is important because driving at a higher speed could prevent you from stopping for a child who does not see you. The beginning and end of school zones are clearly marked, but you should familiarize yourself with them anyway for good measure.
Be aware of crosswalks. They are usually at intersections and are marked with signs and/or flashing lights. Some may actually be away from an intersection. Never block a crosswalk, as it could force children to walk around you and into traffic.
Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians. Look out for crossing guards, and follow their directions. Also, never drop off your children across the street from the school, and make sure to never double park, as it blocks the visibility of children and other vehicles.
Remember that children might not be following the rules to keep safe. Thus, it is best to keep your foot on or near the brake while you slowly drive through a school zone. You never know when a child might run across the street outside the crosswalk, run out from between parked cars, or fail to observe traffic signals.
Safety Tips for Children
If taking the bus, children should walk on the sidewalk when walking to or from the bus stop, and they should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching or getting off. If they walk in front of a bus, they should walk at least 10 feet away.
If walking to school, children should cross the street at intersections and observe all traffic signs. Use routes where there are crossing guards if possible, and walk facing traffic as well. Teach your children to carefully look both ways before crossing the street. They should walk in pairs or groups if possible, and they should stay away from strangers on foot or in cars.
West Chester Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Those Injured in Back-to-School Crashes
If you become injured in a back-to-school accident, we can protect your rights. Speak with one of our West Chester car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. for legal help. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve the communities of Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.