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It’s that time of year again. Children and college students will soon be back at school which means plenty of drivers (and new teen drivers), buses, pedestrians, and cyclists on the road.

While this can be an exciting time of the year, it’s also important that drivers – old and new – obey the laws and rules of the road. Your Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns want to offer you a few guidelines to follow for this back-to-school season to keep you, your loved ones, and others safe while traveling to and from school.

Back-to-School Driving Safety Tips to Follow

    1. Look Out for Pedestrians

According to a study done by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related accidents are 4 to 7 years old and are walking. These tragedies occur when the child is hit by the bus or by a motorist that refuses to pay attention to the bus’ stop sign and illegally passes it.

A few ways to keep our children safe are:

      • Always stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and pay attention to the instructions of the crossing guards.
      • Pay attention to flashing lights in school zones and pay attention to pedestrians.
      • Never honk at a passing pedestrian even if they are not supposed to be crossing the street.
      • Never go around a vehicle that is stopped for crossing pedestrians.
      • Avoid blocking any crosswalks when you are stopped at a red light. This can cause the pedestrian(s) to walk around your car, possibly putting them in the way of moving traffic.
    1.   Parent Pick Up/Drop Off

Schools often have pick up/drop off regulations. These rules are created to protect the children and it is extremely important for parents to be careful in these school zones. A few tips to follow when in a school zone include:

      • No double parking.
      • Avoid dropping off your children a significant distance away from the school. Making them cross the street increases the chance of them getting hit.
      • Consider carpooling – contacting fellow parents or friends within your neighborhood may be a great way to start a carpool and reduce the car traffic in school zones.

Most schools have a designated pick area so be sure to follow the rules and use these areas accordingly. Again, avoid dropping off and picking up your children in the middle of a busy street.

    1.   Stay Off Your Phone

You should always avoid using your cell phone or other mobile device while operating a vehicle – especially in school zones. Not only is it unsafe for the driver and those around you but it could also cost you a $200 fine if you are caught using your phone.

    1.   Be Aware of the Speed Limit

The speed limit is always significantly slower in school zones for a reason; there are a plethora of other cars, buses, and pedestrians.

Also, fines are usually doubled in school zones, so slow down!

    1.   Be Cautious Around Buses

Driving alongside buses is quite a bit different than driving alongside a car. There a few different rules that you should follow including:

      • Never pass a bus that has stopped. This is important for the safety of the children that are getting off the bus. When bus lights start flashing, do not speed up to pass it, but safely slow down and obey the law.
      • Avoid traveling too close behind a bus. When traveling behind a bus, it is important to always remember to leave more space between your vehicle and the bus in the event of a sudden stop.
      • Follow the 10-foot rule. Make sure to stay at least 10 feet away from buses (in all directions) when they are stopped to avoid any accidents. Kids are unpredictable and an unexpected run into the street can lead to an accident.
    1.   Look Out for Cyclists

One of the ways children get to and from school is by riding their bikes. Often, drivers will use the bicycle lane as the turning lane, which is illegal. Avoid forcing a cyclist out into the road where there’s a higher likelihood that they can get hit.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver in a school zone, contact your dedicated and experienced Houston personal injury attorneys at Lapeze & Johns today for a free consultation. Let us help you put your life back together.