Schools soon will be back in session. It is not just your imagination – there are more vehicles on the roads, both back roads and highways, when school starts. College and high school student drivers add to traffic, along with buses and parents hurrying through their morning drop offs. During this frenetic time, there are more chances for accidents. Keep these tips in mind to help keep everyone safer during the back to school transition.
Watch for young pedestrians: Though you should always be aware of pedestrians, be especially cautious near schools. The majority of children who are struck by cars are hit near schools. You can help your children and others be safe at school by:
• Avoiding double parking
• Never parking across from the school, so that children have to cross the road
• Never pass a car waiting for pedestrians
• Never block a crosswalk when making a turn or when stopped at a red light as it causes walkers to have to walk in the path of moving traffic
Be aware of buses: Children ages 4 to 7 years old are especially vulnerable to being hit by passing cars. Always stop for a school bus. It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped for dropping off or picking up children in all 50 states.
Help your teen driver be safe: The fatal crash rate for drivers 16-19 is three times the rate for drivers over 20. Back to school time can be challenging as young drivers acclimate to different schedules and navigate among aggressive drivers. Help your young driver with these tips:
• Leave 10 minutes earlier than necessary. Rushing leads to aggressive driving. Encourage your teen to set an alarm to remind them it is time to leave.
• Insist on seat belts. In 2013, 54% of students survey, admitted to not always wearing a seatbelt when with friends.
• Teach them to keep calm. Remind teens simply to move out of the way for aggressive drivers to let them pass, rather than getting frustrated and angry.
• Dump distractions. They have heard it already, but make it a rule to avoid texting and talking on their cell phones – even hands-free – while driving. Consider setting up the do not disturb features on their phone to help them avoid temptation. Also, keep in mind eating and drinking can be distracting.