It’s that time of year again. School is back in session and the roadways are full of school buses, pedestrians, and children. Kids are especially at risk of injury or death in car-pedestrian collisions due to their propensity to run into the road without looking and dart out from behind parked vehicles. Back-to-school is the best time to refresh your safe driving practices and use extra caution behind the wheel.
Share the Road in Missouri
Pedestrians and bicyclists have as much right to be on the roadway as passenger vehicles. Bicycles have all the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, and cyclists can ride in the same lane as cars going in the same direction. Keep a safe, respectful distance from bicyclists, and pass carefully. Many children ride their bikes to school, and they deserve the utmost care from motorists on their journeys.
Other children walk to school, using the city’s crosswalks with or without adult supervision. If you enter a school zone, slow down to the marked speed limit and pay attention to the roadway. Distracted driving through a school zone can result in a terrible accident and pedestrian death. In 2014, 207 pedestrian children died in traffic collisions – nearly one-fifth of all children killed in traffic crashes that year. Driver awareness and attentiveness can prevent these Kansas City car accidents, especially during times of the day when children are likely to be out.
Don’t block crosswalks with your vehicle when you come to a stop. This forces children to walk around your car, placing them in the path of moving traffic. Always stop for a school patrol person holding a stop sign or making a hand signal telling you to stop. Be patient when children walk across the road, coming to a complete stop and staying immobile until the last child has stepped off the crosswalk. Never pass a vehicle that has stopped for pedestrians.
Follow School Bus Safety Rules
School buses can often be irritating to motorists, forcing them to make frequent stops on both sides of the road. However, school buses safely transport our children to and from school, and they deserve special care. If you’re driving behind a bus, allow greater room between it and your vehicle in case of a sudden stop. Rear-ending a bus, especially in a large vehicle like a commercial truck, can cause catastrophic injuries to children sitting in the back seats.
Never pass a bus while it’s unloading children. Don’t assume children won’t cross the road in front of the bus to reach their destinations. If you’re driving on a road with no barrier between you and oncoming traffic, both lanes must stop for a bus that’s loading or unloading children. If you’re on a highway with a barricade separating the lanes, only the side with the bus must stop, however, drivers on both sides of the road should always be cautious when children are getting on or off a bus.
Be Careful in Kansas City School Zones
The majority of children who get hit by cars are near schools at the time of the accident. Whether you’re dropping your child off at school or simply driving past, slow down and stay alert. Children are unpredictable and don’t always know how to act safely around traffic. Never text and drive in a school zone, fiddle with the radio, answer a phone call, or otherwise drive distractedly.
School zones mark the most dangerous areas for children in traffic. Treat them with care, obeying time-of-day rules and keeping a careful eye out for children running into traffic or using crosswalks. Expect the unexpected, and budget extra travel time to go through school zones so you aren’t tempted to speed or experience road rage. Back-to-school safety isn’t a joke, and we all need to do our best to protect the community’s children. If your child was injured in an accident due to driver negligence, contact a compassionate Kansas City child injury lawyer to discuss your available legal options.