August is well underway, and children across the United States are back to school. As a driver, it is your responsibility to share the roadways with the growing number of young pedestrians and cyclists who will fill the roadways — especially around school zones. And with the school year approaching, it is the perfect time to review some vital suggestions to help maintain safe roads. Below are eight tips to help you drive safely throughout the school year.
1. Use extra precautions during the first week
As a driver, you should practice safe driving habits all year long — not just during the school year. However, during the very first week of the school year, it is especially important to be careful and alert. Allow extra driving time to account for increased roadway congestion and frequent school bus stops. Also, remember that some drivers and cyclists may not yet be fully adjusted to a new route to school, so it is essential to exercise patience while driving.
2. Avoid multitasking while driving
Roughly four out of every five drivers multi-tasks while driving, creating a recipe for disaster for drivers and school children alike. Eating, texting, talking, applying makeup, and focusing on work projects are among the many activities that people tend to engage in while driving. Trying to multitask while navigating traffic in a school zone leaves you and everyone around you at increased risk for accidents and injury.
3. Never pass a school bus that is loading or unloading students
Every one of the 50 States has a law making it illegal to pass a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended that is stopped to load or unload students. However, some motorists simply choose to ignore the law.
– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Passing a school bus that is stopped is not only dangerous — it is illegal. State and local officials in Nevada and across the country have stepped up enforcement of this law, which was developed to protect the lives of school children. While the NHTSA reports that the number of accidents related to this type of violation is low, the potential for injury or death is high.
4. Consider carpooling
Carpooling offers many advantages to adults, schoolchildren, and the community at large. In addition to reducing traffic congestion around school zones, carpooling conserves fuel, and helps busy parents maximize their time. Carpooling can also help reduce driver stress and may reduce the probability of car accidents. Children also tend to enjoy the experience of riding to school with peers, especially during the first few weeks of the school year.
5. Reduce your speed
A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
– AAA School’s Open – Drive Carefully
Driving more slowly is the single best step you can take to maximize safety while sharing the road with cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to helping to prevent accidents in the first place, driving at a slower speed reduces the likelihood of a fatality if a pedestrian is struck by a car.
6. Refrain from overusing your horn
Unless a real emergency arises that warrants the use of your car horn, you should refrain using it frivolously. Overusing your car horn contributes to noise pollution and can also startle pedestrians and cyclists who are using the roadways properly.
7. Get plenty of sleep
Drowsy driving is dangerous because sleep deprivation can have similar effects on your body as drinking alcohol…If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive — say, after a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep — it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10.
– National Sleep Foundation
Sleep deprivation can put even the most skilled drivers at increased risk for an accident. The National Sleep Foundation compares the effects of sleep deprivation to the effects of drinking alcohol before driving.
In particular, studies show that the effects of sleep deprivation include decreased vigilance, cognitive slowing, and poor response capability — all of which can impair your ability to react quickly if a child crosses your path or a bike ventures over into your lane.
8. Teach your children about safe driving practices
If you regularly drive your children to and from school, use your driving time together to educate your children about the best driving practices. The most effective way to do this is to model safe driving behavior. Drive safely to serve as an excellent example to them. Following tips above, and explain why it is important not to text while driving.
What are the best steps to take if you or your child is involved in an accident?
Sometimes even the most careful people in the world are involved in accidents. If you or your child has been the victim of an accident, remember to remain calm and follow these three necessary steps:
Step One: Seek medical care right away
If you or your child sustains an injury during an accident, the first thing to do is secure medical treatment. Some accidents may not produce visible signs of injury, so it is vital to make sure that you have not sustained any internal injuries.
Step Two: Report the accident to the authorities
After you seek care medical care, your next two phone calls should be to the police and your insurance company. Do not delay reporting your accident, as you may begin to forget details that are relevant to your case.
Step Three: Contact Mazzeo Law
If you or your child sustain an injury during an accident, you could be eligible for compensation for your injuries. The best way to determine whether you have a case is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas or Henderson.
As Nevada’s most trusted personal injury team, Peter Mazzeo and the Mazzeo Law group are here to listen to your story and help you receive the compensation you deserve. Whether you and your child sustained injuries in a car accident or your child was injured while biking to school, we are here to evaluate your incident and determine whether you have a case. We invite you to contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation. We look forward to serving as your trusted legal representative!