Needless to say, the past year was unlike any other school year that your children have experienced. However, as this summer comes to a close, many students across Las Vegas are packing up their school bags and getting ready to return to in-person learning.
This back-to-school season, our team wants to ensure you and your family start the school year off safely by providing these simple safety tips for drivers, bicycle riders, and pedestrians. If you are a parent, make sure to share this information with your children, too, as it can make each trip to school a safe one!
Driving in School Zones
With everyone trying to get to the same place at the same time, it’s inevitable that roads will be more congested in school zone areas around peak drop-off and pick-up times. Typically, this is between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you are driving your children to school, please remember that you have certain responsibilities as a motorist, especially in school zone areas.
Here are some precautions that you should take to help keep everyone safe:
- Always be on the lookout for school zone signs so you can reduce your speed.
- Remember that the posted school zone speed limit is 15-25 miles per hour in a school zone. This applies 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the school day, or as long as children are present.
- Be alert at all times and eliminate driving distractions, especially cell phones.
- Watch for school crossing guards and always obey their signals.
- Never honk your car horn at a pedestrian, even if you have the right-of-way.
- Never pass other vehicles or make U-turns while driving in school zones.
School Bus Safety
Sadly, statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC) show that most of the people who are killed in bus-related accidents are children ages 4 to 7. These numbers account for children who are either directly hit by a bus or who are hit by other vehicles trying to pass a bus. Ultimately, there are several steps you should take to safely share the road with school buses:
- If you see flashing red lights on a school bus, you are required to stop no matter what side of the street you are on. The only exception to this rule is if there is a physical barrier, such as a curb or center divider, in which case only the car behind must stop.
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children, so always remain alert in these areas.
- Remember, children are unpredictable and may dart out in the middle of the road, so leave distance and exercise caution.
Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that children who plan to ride the bus be taught to play it SAFE:
- Stay at least five steps away from the curb.
- Always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals to get on.
- Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
- Exit the bus when it stops and look both ways twice for cars before crossing a street.
Pedestrians and Bicycle Riders
Because children are smaller, they are often more difficult to see while walking or biking in school zones. While motorists should keep a proper lookout, many negligent drivers do not. The NHTSA recommends that children under the age of 10 be accompanied when walking to school. Additionally, children should be taught how to stay safe while walking to school:
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
- Do not wear headphones or have your head down while crossing the street.
- Only cross the street when the crosswalk signal or crossing guard indicates to do so.
- Always walk on the sidewalk and never in the middle of the road.
Lastly, children who are biking to school this year should be taught the following:
- Always wear a form-fitting helmet with a chin strap.
- Wear bright colors to increase your visibility.
- Use hand signals to alert drivers of where or when you will turn.
- Watch for opening car doors or other road hazards, such as potholes.
Our team hopes that this information helps you and your family kick the school year off right! However, we also recognize that accidents do happen when you least expect them to. If you or a loved one is injured due to another person’s negligence, Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen is here to advocate on your behalf so you can focus on recovering together.
Injured during back-to-school season? Contact our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at (702) 505-8115 to learn more about your legal options in a free, no-obligation consultation.