Smart Driving for School Safety: Avoiding Accidents
Few events are more horrifying than auto accidents – except for auto accidents that involve schoolchildren. Stories about cars hitting kids who are simply walking to or from school can make anybody cringe. But these events occur with astonishing regularity. Some 25,000 schoolchildren are injured in school zone accidents each year, resulting in 100 or more fatalities. While the fault may be that of either the drivers or the kids, it’s up to the drivers to assume responsibility for pedestrians’ safety. Let’s take a closer look at this disturbing problem, along with some intelligent practices for preventing accidents in and around schools.
The first step in preventing such accidents is understanding why and how they take place. Typical causes of school zone accidents include: Distracted walking – Many kids (including about 15 percent of middle schoolers) like to walk while they talk, text, and watch video on their smartphones. This makes them unaware of impending danger.
Distracted driving – The same smartphone behaviors indulged in by schoolchildren also occur behind the wheel, with potentially deadly results.
Speeding – School zones exist for a reason. Drivers who ignore the reduced speed limits may not be able to stop in time to prevent a tragedy.
What can you do to protect both your own school-aged kids and other schoolchildren from accidents in front of schools? First and foremost, watch for active school zones and give yourself plenty of time to slow down to the posted speed. Stay off your phone while you’re driving in the vicinity of a school. Always stop at the stop sign before the crosswalk instead of blocking any portion of that crosswalk. Last but not least, teach your kids smart school zone crossing habits so they will remain alert and aware at all times. School safety is everyone’s business – so stay safe!
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