Whether you have children, live near a school, or have just walked into a Walmart or Target recently, you have to know that it’s back to school time. But the start of the school year means a lot more than longer lines at stores and frequent stops behind the big yellow bus. To keep both you and students safe, it is more important than ever to be extra careful on the road now that school is back in session.
Even though the summer is the most dangerous season for drivers, there are new and separate cautions you need to take while driving during the fall and winter. Consider the following when you’re driving near schools and around town this fall:
Be Extra Cautious Around Crosswalks – As you are making your commute home, remember that students may still be walking around town or leaving extra-curricular activities. Be sure to slow down and stop at crosswalks, even if you do not immediately see crossing pedestrians. Kids who are excited to be out of school and with their friends may not be looking both ways before crossing.
Driving Around Schools – For a lot of high school students, this will be their first year driving to school every day. But because teen drivers have less experience on the road, driving next to them puts you at a higher risk for an auto accident. It’s just one more reason to be extra cautious around school areas and understand that the drivers around you may still be getting used to using their turn signals or may drive a little slower (or faster) than you are used to.
Speeding – The extra traffic on the road may make you a few minutes late to work, but the solution isn’t to hit the gas pedal harder. While school is in session, remember that special school zones and decreased speed limits will also be in effect. Be sure to read and adjust your speed accordingly to avoid a big ticket.
Friday Night Lights – High school football is starting up again, which means your whole town might be headed to the big game. This is a common time for teenagers to hit the road, and the extra excitement of the game puts extra risk on other drivers in the area. And while it’s not always “cool” to be driven by your parents to a football game, it’s better than letting a group of hopped up teens drive together. Minimize the “lame parent” aspect by setting up a carpool with other parents so they can still ride with their friends.
Stop Behind Buses – There is a reason that school buses have those big stop signs out while they are dropping students off. Even though it’s an inconvenience to stop and wait every few minutes, passing a school bus while you are dropping off children may put you at risk for hitting a child – one that you may not see coming from in front of the bus until it is too late. If that isn’t enough to deter you, remember that it’s also against the law to keeping going when a bus puts its stop sign out.
Talk to Your Teen – Be sure to let your teenager know why it is important to be cautious around this time of year and refresh them on safe driving practices. Starting these practices now will prevent accidents and set them up to be a safe driver for the rest of their life. Get them in the habit of putting their phone in their glove compartment and buckling their seat belt before they put the keys in the ignition.
Even after taking precautions and practicing safe driving habits, you or your loved one may be the victim of an auto accident. For information on how you can receive compensation for your injuries and damages, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today.
About the Author:
Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale-based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.