School is back in session in Texas. Back-to-school time also presents unique challenges for drivers who haven’t had to worry about students crossing streets and walking to class. Taking a few minutes to review safety measures can go a long way.
School zone safety issues
Although most drivers are aware that school zones have different traffic laws, thinking about those specific rules can help you avoid motor vehicle accidents involving children or teens. Here are a few safety tips for when you’re going through school zones:
- Look for the posted speed limit and follow it.
- Put down your cellphone as it causes distractions, which can be deadly.
- Watch for pedestrians, especially younger children, who may suddenly dart out into the street.
- Drive slowly past parked cars and look for pedestrians who may suddenly appear.
- Drive in the left lane when possible.
Driving in a school zone calls for defensive driving measures that go beyond school zone rules. Also, avoid passing other moving vehicles, changing lanes or making a U-turn.
Here are some ways to stay vigilant around school buses, even when they’re not in school zones:
- Maintain a safe following distance.
- Avoid suddenly changing lanes in front of a bus.
- Watch for children walking in the streets when buses are loading and unloading.
- Never pass a stopped school bus.
Consequences of school-zone accidents
Motor vehicle accidents in school zones may have more severe consequences than those in other areas. Not only will drivers causing mishaps be charged with violating laws specific to school zones, but they may also have to defend against personal injury lawsuits filed by parents or guardians of students hurt in the mishap.
Even accidents at low speeds can have devastating consequences for young children. Motorists involved in school zone accidents will often be charged with negligence even when a child suddenly darts out into the street. Practicing the highest level of defensive driving when around schools and students can help avoid accidents.