Drivers should be extra cautious in school zones because children are often present. Children do not always watch out for traffic as they should or use designated crossing points properly. Drivers should slow and watch carefully for children, both in and out of crosswalks.
As a rule, speed limits in school zones are generally 30 km/h between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Students are encouraged to walk or bike to school to cut down on traffic problems near schools. However, that also means that drivers should expect heavier foot traffic and adjust accordingly. Drivers can use the following safety tips to help decrease the chance of being involved in an accident in a school zone.
- Slow down and pay attention.
The best way to avoid an accident in a school zone is to significantly decrease your speed and stay on the lookout for children and adults. Pedestrians and bicyclists can pop out from between cars or behind buildings with very little notice. Slowing down will give you more time to react so you can hopefully avoid a collision.Remember that you must always yield to pedestrians; thelaw requires it!
- Plan ahead.
Most schools let out and start at the same time every day. If you can, take a different route when you know that class is letting out or getting started. Simply avoiding the school zone entirely will significantly decrease the likelihood of an accident. If you must go through the school zone, give yourself some extra time to get through the traffic so you are not rushing and can pay close attention to everything happening around you.
- Watch for reactions from other vehicles.
Pedestrians are not the only danger in school zones. Other vehicles may need to stop suddenly to avoid an accident as well. You should keep your distance from other cars and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice. Drivers dropping off children may also not be as considerate as they should be, so pay careful attention to stopped traffic in school zones as well. Nonetheless, you should not go around these vehicles as children may emerge at any time.
- Take care when backing up.
Small children often will not show up in your rear-view mirror or even your backup camera. Do a quick walkaround your vehicle to ensure that there are no small children nearby before you back up. You should also be aware of who may be coming toward your car before you move as well.
- Know drop off procedures.
If you are dropping off a child at school, be sure to adhere to the school’s drop off procedures. Other drivers will be expecting you to know and follow the rules. If you do not know them, you should ask! You should avoid double parking and try your best not to unload or load children across the street from the school. Both of these practices cause unnecessary risks to those around you and your kids. You may also want to consider carpooling with others to decrease the number of vehicles at the school for drop off and pick up.
- Respect the crosswalk.
Crosswalks serve a valuable purpose, particularly in school zones. Avoid stopping at a red light or waiting to make a turn over a crosswalk. Doing this forces pedestrians into the road, which can be dangerous. You should also be sure to follow what any patrol officer or crossing guard suggestions regarding those in the crosswalk as well. Never honk or attempt to scare a pedestrian just because you are impatient.
Getting Help from a BC Personal Injury Lawyer
Whether you are a pedestrian or driver in an accident, you may be able to assert a legal claim. Our team can help you determine your legal options after a collision. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free.