School is back in session for students across Louisville and Jeffersonville. As responsible motorists, it's our job to keep these kids safe as they travel to and from school each day. Preventing pedestrian accidents in our community is a lot easier when everyone is following the rules of the road and keeping their eyes open for children using nearby sidewalks and crosswalks. Below, we review the basics when it comes to keeping school-aged pedestrians safe on our neighborhood roads.
How Motorists Need to Share the Road with Students Traveling on Foot
In the U.S., about 40 kids are hit by motor vehicles every day. Here's what you can do as a motorist to prevent these accidents:
- Obey posted speed limits, including reduced speed limits in school zones
- Always be aware of your surroundings – this is especially pressing in residential neighborhoods and school zones during the morning and afternoon
- Don't expect kids to follow the rules – be ready for children crossing outside of crosswalks or darting out from between parked cars
- Always check your side mirror before opening your door in a parallel parking spot – a child (or person of any age) may be approaching on a bicycle
- Always check thoroughly when backing out of a driveway or turning into the flow of sidewalk traffic
Stopping correctly for the school bus is really important. Children can easily be injured by a motor vehicle that wrongfully passes a school bus that is loading or unloading. Here's what you need to remember:
- Yellow flashing lights mean slow down – don't speed up to try to pass before the bus stops
- Flashing red lights mean you should come to a complete stop at least 20 feet away from the school bus, whether you are behind the bus or in the other lane of traffic facing the bus – both lanes of traffic MUST stop
- Remain stopped until the bus has turned off the red lights, withdrawn the extended arm with a STOP sign on it, and the bus has begun pulling away
You may need to build more time into your morning and afternoon commute in order to accommodate school buses, student pedestrians and parents getting their kids to school. Doing so could be the difference between keeping the community's children safe and causing a serious, even fatal, injury to a child or teen.
Give Kids the Tools They Need To Walk To and From School Safely
Let's look at the issue from another angle. As a parent with school-aged children, you can help them avoid danger by laying down the rules unequivocally:
- Let them know they need to always cross at a crosswalk
- Remind them of how important it is to look both ways before crossing the street
- Teach your kids that it's important to make eye contact with a driver before crossing – don't ever assume that the motorist sees you without looking them in the eye first
- Devices down when crossing – phones shouldn't be used while crossing the road
- Make sure they are wearing bright, colorful articles of clothing so motorists can see them (for kids whose style doesn't include colorful clothes, suggest a bright backpack, jacket or hat)
Teens are especially vulnerable to texting while they are crossing the road. This is an extremely dangerous behavior that could lead to catastrophic injury and death. Let your teen know the gravity of the situation and reinforce the rule often: devices down when crossing.
What To Do If Your Child is Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident
You may be able to pursue justice for you and your child if a careless driver hits them. The experienced attorneys at our Louisville and Jeffersonville law firm are here to help. We provide a complimentary consultation so you can decide what to do next. To learn more, please call the Karl Truman Law Office at 502-222-2222.