Reminding drivers of school year safety tips

It's been a few weeks since school started back up here in Macon, and most families are probably falling into a routine by now. This also means that people may be starting to get complacent when it comes to driving around schoolchildren.

It probably wouldn't hurt to go through a few reminders that could keep your children and the other children in your area safe. Every year, the media carries stories regarding children who die or suffer serious injuries while waiting for the school bus or someone else to pick them up. Still, others are riding their bikes or walking to school when tragedy strikes.

Brushing up on safety

Accidents involving adults are bad enough, but when a child suffers serious injuries or dies in an accident, it's all the more heart-wrenching. For this reason, parents and other drivers in the area need to remain vigilant and not get complacent when it comes to maneuvering near school zones, school buses and schoolchildren in general. The National Safety Council reports that children ages 4 to 7 represent the largest group of children killed during the school year, and everyone could use the following reminders:

  • Stop and yield to young pedestrians as they get off the bus and cross the street when you see a bus' flashing lights. This goes for when you drive through school zones or anywhere school buses drop off and pick up children.
  • Don't pass a school bus that is loading or unloading children.
  • The major danger zone for kids getting on or off a school bus is the first 10 feet all of the way around the bus.
  • Use extreme caution as you drive through neighborhoods or near schools. Kids don't necessarily care or understand the rules regarding who has the right-of-way.
  • Don't block crosswalks with your vehicle as you wait to turn right or sit at a stoplight. This forces youngsters to go around your vehicle, which could put them in harm's way.
  • Always stop for a crossing guard or school patrol officer who is holding a stop sign.
  • Children are nothing if not unpredictable. Do not attempt to anticipate their movements while they are in or near the roadway.
  • Kids on bikes could dart out from parking lots or driveways.
  • Keep your vehicle at least three feet from a bicycle.
  • Don't expect a child on a bicycle to obey the rules of the road. One could dart out in front of your vehicle without warning to turn or for some other reason.
  • Check your side mirrors before opening your car door, especially near schools, parks or in residential areas.

Keeping an eye out for children is always a good idea, but during the school year, it seems as though kids are in even more danger of being injured or killed than at other times of the year. If your child becomes one of those statistics, you may be able to pursue compensation for his or her injuries from the driver of the vehicle involved.

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