It’s that time of year again – time to send the kids back to school. Some parents dread it and some look forward to it, but everyone (including people without children of their own) is affected by it. As we prepare to send children, teens, and college students back to campus, we here at Carrigan Insurance have put together a simple checklist to help make the children and young people here in Waukesha a little safer.
School Bus Safety
Millions of children ride in school buses every school day across our country. Unfortunately, many drivers do not adhere to laws stating motorists must stop for school buses that are loading or dropping off children. Though it is impossible to know exactly how many motorists pass school buses, a one-day study in Virginia found that 3,394 motorists illegally passed a stopped school bus in a single day – 187 of which were on the right side where children enter and exit the bus.
As a driver, make sure you are constantly scanning the road for stopped school buses. It might be easy to see one stopped in front of you, but drivers are less likely to notice one stopped on the opposite side of the road. Remember, both lanes of traffic must stop for a school bus unless they are driving on a divided highway. If you have a child who will be riding the bus this school year, teach him or her to stand away from the curb when waiting for pick-up time. Students should only walk in front of the bus and remain in clear view of the bus driver and other motorists whenever possible.
Driving in School Zones
By law, motorists must slow down in school zones. Failure to obey school zone speed limits might not only result in hefty penalties, but also in a serious injury or fatality. While school zones may seem inconvenient during rush hour traffic, there is no room for error when the lives of children are on the line. To improve safety in school zones, consider the following tips:
- Never block a crosswalk at a stop light
- Yield to young pedestrians crossing the street
- Never pass another vehicle that has stopped for pedestrians – even if not at a crosswalk
- Do not scare pedestrians or honk your horn
Many children – especially those who live within a mile or two of their schools – ride their bikes to campus. Bicycles are technically vehicles and have the same rights on public roadways that cars do. They are also required to follow the same laws, such as signaling a stop or turn and maintaining a lane. That does not mean, however, that young children will be as careful as they should on bikes. As a driver, always anticipate the errors of bicyclists. Slow down when you approach them, and always change lanes to pass them.
If you have a teenager who will be driving him or herself to school this year, you may need to prepare in different ways. For teens driving to a high school, make sure they understand the importance of watching for pedestrians and leaving early to compensate for rush hour traffic. If your student is leaving for college, have his or her vehicle inspected, the oil changed, and the tires rotated. Also, make sure your teen is properly insured with coverage for liability, collision, comprehensive damages, and emergency roadside assistance. For more information about student car insurance, contact our office in Waukesha, to request a free, no-obligation car insurance quote.