The beginning of September means the start of a new school year for most children. But as people readjust to navigating through school zones, there is a substantial risk of accidents that can severely injure students going to and from school. Here are some back-to-school safety tips to keep in mind over the next few weeks and throughout the school year. 

Potential Traffic Hazards When Going to School

About one in five victims of fatal traffic accidents under the age of 15 in the U.S. were killed in pedestrian accidents. If your children walk to school or are walking around school zones during drop-off and pickup, here are a few safety tips about potential traffic hazards to go over with your children:

  • Remind your kids to stop, look both ways, and listen whenever crossing the street
  • Teach your children to only cross at intersections or at marked crosswalks
  • Make sure your children stay off their cell phones whenever walking down the street
  • If your children bike to school, make sure that they have reflective materials on their backpack and/or helmet as well as active lights on their bikes
  • Go over the rules of the road and bike safety laws with your kids if they ride to school

If you have an older child who drives to school, you should regularly review safe driving tips, including keeping their phone in their pocket, purse, or bag at all times, obeying speed limits, and turning down music to hear other traffic. 

Beware of Flashing Lights

During the school year, you should exercise extreme caution whenever driving through or near school zones. In particular, you should be especially aware of flashing lights. Flashing lights may be used to warn motorists that they are entering an active school zone, which usually imposes a lower speed limit than is normally used for the area. Flashing lights may also warn drivers that pedestrians are about to enter a marked crosswalk.

Most importantly, flashing lights are used on school buses to warn drivers about what the bus is about to do. Yellow lights may be used to signal that a bus is slowing down to stop to load or unload students. Buses will use flashing red lights and may extend stop signs to indicate that the bus is stopped to allow children to get on or off the bus. It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus flashing red lights, even if you are driving in the opposite lane of travel. You may only pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading students if you are driving in the opposite direction of travel on a road with a median or physical divider. 

Other tips for drivers to keep in mind include:

  • Drive slowly so that you can stop quickly if necessary
  • Be prepared for children to step out from between parked cars or from in front of a stopped car in the street
  • If you see children on bikes, be ready for them to suddenly turn in front of you without looking or signaling

Other School Zone Safety Tips

Other safety tips that you should go over with your children include:

  • Only cross the street at an intersection or a marked crosswalk
  • Follow the directions of any crossing guards
  • Children who walk or ride bikes to school should travel in a group or with a buddy
  • Avoid looking at one’s cell phone while walking, biking, or driving to school

Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your School Accident Case in New Jersey

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a school accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients injured because of school accidents in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.