Back to School Safety Tips for Drivers in Middle Tennessee
The school year is back in full swing throughout Middle Tennessee, but many drivers may need a refresher on how to safely drive in school zones and near school buses. At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys know that children are at high risk when they’re walking to and from school, entering and exiting school buses, or just waiting outside for their rides home. It’s vital that drivers understand the risks that children face and that they always exercise caution when driving in areas where children are likely to be.
The National Safety Council has published a list of safety tips that can help parents and drivers protect their kids and other children throughout the school year. Check out the tips below to do your part in making the roads in Middle Tennessee safe for all students.
Safety Tips for Dropping Your Children Off at School
All schools have systems in place to help parents quickly, easily, and safely drop off their children at school. However, children can still be at risk during this time, as the National Safe Routes to School program found that more children are hit by cars near schools—including just after being dropped off—than at any other location.
To do your part in keeping your kids and other children safe, remember to:
- Never double park, as it blocks visibility for other drivers and can make it harder for drivers to see small children who may suddenly run out into the road.
- Always park as close to the school as possible when dropping off your children and never make them cross a busy street.
- Take turns carpooling with other families to reduce the number of vehicles at your child’s school.
Safety Tips for Driving near Students in the Morning and Afternoon
It’s important for drivers to remember that they share the roadway with young pedestrians in the morning and afternoon, as many children walk to and from school. The National Safety Council says that the majority of children ages 4 to 7 who die in bus-related accidents were on foot at the time they were injured.
Vital safety tips to follow when driving near children who are walking include:
- Never block a crosswalk when stopped in traffic, as this can force children to walk around your vehicle, putting themselves in harm’s way.
- Always drive at or below the speed limit when approaching a school zone, and be prepared to stop at crosswalks while giving pedestrians plenty of room to cross.
- Never pass vehicles that are stopped to load or unload children and pedestrians.
Safety Tips for Driving near School Buses
Although buses are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, students can still be at serious risk of suffering injuries in the event of an accident. In addition, they also face risks when entering and exiting buses.
Keep children safe when driving near school buses by following these tips:
- Never pass stopped buses, as children may be entering or exiting and attempting to cross the road. When a bus stops, come to a complete stop and wait for it to begin moving again before accelerating.
- Give buses plenty of room when you stop behind them. The 10-foot area directly behind a bus is the most dangerous for children, as it’s an area where they’re most likely to cross the street and also be injured by vehicles.
- Keep your eyes on children who are entering and exiting buses. Children can be unpredictable and they don’t always stay in crosswalks or obey traffic signals.
Driving slowly and cautiously at school zones and near bus stops is required by law in Tennessee, but it’s also important for drivers to recognize the potential risks that children face when walking through residential areas. Whether they walk home directly from school or get dropped off by a bus, seeing children making their way to their homes in neighborhoods in the afternoon is a common sight. When approaching children in the morning or afternoon, reduce your speed and give them as much room to walk as possible.
The Nashville pedestrian accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law know that young children can face many dangers in the process of getting to and from school—especially when drivers are negligent. If your child was injured by a careless driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how our legal team can assist you during this time, just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.