5 School Zone Safety Driving Tips

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According to pedestrian accident statistics, Florida has one of the highest rate of pedestrian deaths. School zones in particular, contain the road’s most vulnerable road users: child pedestrians. School zones are designated areas with higher populations of child pedestrians at certain times of the day. School zones in Florida have special rules all drivers must follow, including lower speed limits. It is a driver’s responsibility to drive safely, prudently, and per state and local laws through school zones. Driving negligently or recklessly in a school zone could cost a child his or her life.

Pay Attention

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of school zone collisions. Drivers crossing through school zones may text and drive, look down at their cellphones, eat or drink behind the wheel, play with radios and engage in other distracting activities that can ultimately lead to accidents. All parents and other drivers with commutes that lead them through school zones should dedicate 100% of their attention to the roadway. Watching the road enables a driver to obey the speed limit, stop at crosswalks and yield the right-of-way to child pedestrians.

Stop for School Buses

It is against the law for a driver to proceed past a school bus that has stopped and turned on its flashing lights. Drivers on both sides of a two-lane road or highway must stop for the school bus. This is a commonly broken roadway rule that contributes to child pedestrian collisions. Drivers that recklessly and negligently speed past school buses endanger children walking on and off the bus. Always be on the lookout for stopped school buses, especially in school zones.

Slow Down

Most school zones have maximum speed limits of 15 miles per hour or less during certain times of the day. If you see the school zone lights flashing, decrease your speed and keep a closer eye on the road. School-age children are likely to dart out from behind parked cars. Driving slowly can help you brake in time to avoid collisions. It can also help prevent rear-end accidents with slow-moving vehicles in front of you. Decreasing your speed puts you in better control of your vehicle in a school zone.

Never Make a U-Turn

Do not make any U-turn maneuvers in a school zone. U-turns can endanger the lives of pedestrians using crosswalks at intersections. Pedestrians – especially children – may not realize a turning vehicle is trying to make a U-turn and may run across the road in front of the oncoming car. Most schools do not make U-turns legal on the roads surrounding the school. Instead of making a U-turn, make two left turns or three right turns to get back on track.

Broward County Tips

School started again in Broward County on August 24th. Broward County Risk Management encourages student safety with a list of tips for the back-to-school season. These tips also come from the Florida Department of Transportation and the American Academy of Pediatrics. First, the county explains that children are at an increased risk of vehicle collisions during this time of year. Then, it offers tips for getting to and from school without incident.

  • Walk in a group with other parents and students to school
  • Pick a safe route with crossing guards or limited intersections
  • Supervise your child until he or she is old enough
  • Dress your child in bright clothes for better visibility
  • Do not use a cellphone while driving
  • Always obey school zone speed limits
  • Watch for school buses
  • Keep an eye out for child pedestrians
  • Watch for children crossing sidewalks when leaving the school or a driveway
  • Be a good role model for children by always buckling up

Broward County also gives safety tips to returning students. It reminds students to ride in the backseat, take off their backpacks before buckling up, wear helmets while bicycling, follow pedestrian safety rules and wait for buses out of the road. Child pedestrians should be able to obey roadway rules, read signs, recognize signals and know how to walk safely near traffic before they may walk to school. Walk with your child until he or she is old enough. If your child or loved one was injured in a school zone, contact a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney, you may be able to collect compensation.