School Zone Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers
- There were an estimated 92 pedestrians killed in the first half of 2017.
- 0.8 pedestrians per 100,000 people were killed.
- Georgia is ranked 16th in the nation when it comes to pedestrian deaths.
If you’ve driven down a neighborhood street in recent weeks, you may have noticed something that you had forgotten about: School buses. Children across Georgia and the rest of the nation are returning to school, if they haven’t returned already. Seeing those big yellow buses should serve as a reminder that school is back in session and it’s time to start paying attention to how we are driving through school zones.
Buses aren’t the only thing you will encounter in a school zone. Pedestrians and cyclists will crowd sidewalks and streets as they prepare for a day of learning or head home after hours of learning. As Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyers, we know just how dangerous school zones can be for those walking through them. It’s time to prepare yourself for having to slow down, yield or even completely stop more than you are used to when schools aren’t in session.
It’s easy to lose your patience in a school zone. You may be in a hurry or you may just be tired of starting and stopping. If you are traveling through a school zone, it’s up to you to keep yourself and pedestrians out of harm’s way. Pedestrian deaths are at higher rates than they have been in recent years — don’t add to the numbers.
Tips for Drivers
1. Watch for School Buses
Do you know the rules for operating your vehicle around a school bus? You can pass a school bus, provided you would be able to legally pass any other vehicle in that same area, as long as it does not have its lights flashing. If a bus is preparing to stop or is stopped, stay behind it.
If a bus has its yellow lights flashing, it indicates that the driver is getting ready to stop. When the red lights are activated, it means that the bus driver is preparing to allow a student to board the bus or to drop a student off. Never pass a school bus with red lights activated. You run a high risk of striking a child. The safest behavior is to stop at least 50 feet back from the bus and give everyone plenty of room.
2. Drop Off Zones
Most schools have a designated area for picking up and dropping off students. If you need to drive through this area, proceed with caution. Know that a small child may dart out from between cars or other obstacles and into the roadway.
If you are one of the people dropping off or picking up, stick to the designated zone. Don’t double park and block the view of others. Don’t park in a different area and force your child to walk outside of the zone. It’s true that a drop off zone can get congested and you may be able to park strategically to avoid the bulk of it, but stay in the zone and follow the rules.
3. School Zones
School zones have a lower speed limit than other sections of the road. If you see a school, chances are that the area in front of it is a school zone. Look for signage that tells you the maximum speed you are permitted to travel. In most areas, the maximum speed limit is 20 mph. Do not speed.
Avoid tailgating other drivers as you move through a school zone. If they have to stop suddenly, you won’t be able to and you’ll end up being ticketed for following too closely after you hit them. Give everyone room.
If you are going to be getting out of your vehicle or are letting a child out, look in your blind spots before anyone opens the car door. One of the most dangerous things for cyclists is a door that opens suddenly, and it can be just as risky for a pedestrian. Be prepared for the unexpected in a school zone.
Tips for Pedestrians
While a driver certainly has the responsibility to operate their vehicle appropriately through a school zone, pedestrians aren’t exempt from following safety protocols. The safety of people in a school zone doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of drivers. If you are walking through a school zone, follow these tips:
1. Use Sidewalks
If there are sidewalks in the school zone, that’s where you belong. If there aren’t sidewalks available to you, walk on the shoulder of the road as far to the right as you can. Make sure that you are walking facing traffic so you can see any approaching cars.
2. Avoid Jaywalking
Don’t jaywalk. If there are crosswalks, use them. Wait until you get to an intersection to cross the street if there is no crosswalk. Always keep your head up and pay attention to where you are going.
3. Supervise Children
Parents walking their children to and from school should be teaching their children how to walk safely. Use the time walking as a lesson on expected behavior. Don’t let your children cut into the street, run along the sidewalk or act in any other unsafe ways.
Speak to an Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
If you are struck while in a school zone or anywhere else, you need an experienced Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer. Reach out to Hawkins Spizman Fortas today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will defend your rights aggressively in court and fight to get you every penny you deserve.