We should be mindful of avoiding pedestrian accidents during all times of the year, but especially as children return to school after a long summer off. It is during these weeks when routines are still new that children and other pedestrians are most vulnerable. AARP provides some helpful advice on driving safely in school zones. Some of the key takeaways include:
- Don’t double park: In a crowded school zone, it’s hard enough to maintain safe sightlines without passenger vehicles double parking at the curb. Bus drivers must be able to see their surroundings clearly and this goes the same for other parents who are picking up their children. Single park whenever possible, even if it means a slightly longer walk.
- Respect buses: Most drivers have a natural impulse to slow down and be especially alert when in the presence of a school bus. Follow this instinct and always slow down when buses are near. Never pass a school bus that is stopped to pick up or drop off children. When in doubt, stop!
- Slow down: Children are not always predictable in their walking patterns. It’s not uncommon for a child to dart out onto a street between parked cars. Since we cannot control their actions, we must control our own and slow down.
- Consider another route: The best way to avoid pedestrian accidents in a school zone is not to drive near the zone at all. If possible, plan to travel outside of the early morning or mid- to late-afternoon hours when parents are dropping off and picking up their children.
We hope back-to-school season is a safe one in California and across the U.S. We also hope victims of pedestrian accidents know their rights in the event an accident does occur. By holding negligent drivers to account, we can help make school zones safer for everyone.