Back to School, Back to Safe – Top Driving Safety Tips from a Personal Injury Lawyer
Every year personal injury attorney’s on Long Island see their fair share of school auto accidents. Back to school season is one of the most dangerous times to be on the roads because drivers are adjusting to more motorists on the roads during the morning rush hour.
Driving near Long Island and New York City area schools is particularly dangerous. Between new parents learning the route, young sixteen year old kids with their brand new licenses, and busses dropping of students, the potential for accidents is massive. When driving near schools, make sure to follow these simple tips:
- Stop at all school cross walks
Pedestrian accidents tend to be gruesome incidents. Even the slightest low speed tap could knock over a small child or young teen. Moreover, many young children are either not old enough to know to look for oncoming cars or simply do not pay as much attention as they should. This is especially true for students looking down at their phones.
From a legal perspective, the law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in cross walks. Failing to look for walkers in the cross walk could constitute negligence. To protect both young students and yourself from legal trouble, stop and look before driving through school cross walks.
- Obey school zones and reduce speed near schools
Schools are reduced speed zones for good reason. It is incredibly common for children to dart out into the road. As an attorney, I cannot tell you how many times we have heard the same story: “This kid came out of nowhere and now her parents are suing me, but by the way… I was speeding.” This is never a good position to be in. Save yourself the trouble and follow the posted speed.
- Stop for school busses
School bus stops protect young children exiting the bus. Most kids who bus every day follow a routine, and sometimes they don’t think to look observant. Additionally, because they are focused on the other kids getting on and off the bus, they may not be looking for cars. The safest position for you to keep your vehicle near a stopped school bus is stopped at least one or two car lengths behind the bus.
- Avoid rolling stops at stop signs
Accidents at stop signs occur regularly. They tend to result from drivers not taking enough time to look before turning. Rolling stops are not dangerous because the driver doesn’t fully stop the car. They’re dangerous because drivers take them too quickly. The best way to avoid accidents is to come to a full stop. Full stops ensure that you have enough time to properly check for other cars or pedestrians.
- Drive slowly near playgrounds
Just like school zones, playgrounds create dangerous traffic hazards for the unwitting driver. One minute, the kids are playing tag, but the next, they’re in the street. Even though most playgrounds do not have posted speed reductions, it is always a good idea to drive slowly and be extra vigilant.