10 Safety Tips to Avoid Back-to-School Car Accidents

August 17, 2022

It’s back-to-school season in Pennsylvania, and that means that there are more cars on the roads. Unfortunately, this also means that there is a greater risk for accidents. With many students riding to school on buses, bus safety is a concern for children—and their parents—as well.

Recognizing that there are more cars and buses on our roads, there are steps we can all take during back-to-school season to help keep everyone as safe as possible. Here are 10 safety tips to avoid back-to-school car accidents:

5 Safety Tips for Drivers to Avoid Back-to-School Car Accidents

Whether due to fatigue, distractions, limited visibility or bad weather, car accidents during back-to-school season can result from a wide range of causes. While most of these causes are accidental, this is not an excuse for putting school children (or anyone else) in harm’s way. To avoid causing car accidents, drivers of all ages can:

1. Put Down the Phone

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents—with texting behind the wheel being the primary culprit. Texting behind the wheel is also against the law in Pennsylvania. While drivers should never text behind the wheel, it is especially important to have both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road when driving during back-to-school season.

2. Observe All Traffic Signs and Signals

From speed limit signs and stop signs to stop lights and school crossing markers, all traffic signs and signals are there for a reason. Drivers need to observe these signs and signals to keep themselves—and others—safe on the road.

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, drivers should also keep in mind that they may need to slow down and approach intersections more cautiously. Slippery roads and limited visibility can make it unsafe to drive at the posted speed limit or follow normal braking patterns.

3. Stop at Crosswalks and School Crossing Zones

Any time children (or other pedestrians) may be present, drivers should exercise caution when approaching crosswalks and school crossing zones. When in doubt, drivers should come to a complete stop and proceed with caution when it is safe to do so. Drivers should never enter crosswalks or school crossing zones occupied by pedestrians, and they should heed all instructions from crossing guards.

4. Leave On Time

Feeling rushed can lead drivers to make poor decisions on the road. The easiest way not to feel rushed is to make sure you leave on time—if not a little bit early. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, consider changing your routine so you can go to bed earlier. Or, if this isn’t an option, consider doing some of your routine morning tasks (i.e., picking out outfits or packing lunch) the night before.

5. Remain Calm

While driving in morning traffic can be stressful, it is important to always remain calm. Getting frustrated or flustered can also lead to poor decision-making. Tailgating, road rage and other similar mistakes are not justified under any circumstances, and just one mistake is enough to change someone’s life forever.

5 Safety Tips for Parents to Avoid School Bus Accidents

Along with driving safety, parents of school-age children who ride the bus should also follow some best practices for reducing the risks of accidents involving school buses. Here are our top five tips for school bus safety:

1. Get To the Bus Stop On Time

Parents should be sure to get their children to the bus stop on time—whether this means getting them to the end of the driveway or a shared pickup point. Children should never run near the road when cars, buses or other vehicles may be present, and they should be standing in a safe location that the bus driver can see easily when he or she arrives.

2. Teach Your Children About Road Safety

Parents can help their children avoid the risk of injury by teaching them about road safety. For example, in addition to knowing not to run near traffic, children should also know how to read traffic signs and signals, how to check for cars coming in both directions, and how to use crosswalks properly.

3. Follow the Bus Driver’s Instructions

Parents and students alike should follow the bus driver’s instructions. With bus drivers’ high vantage point, they can often see safety risks that parents and students cannot. If a bus driver says to wait, then wait. There is almost certainly a good reason why.

4. Never Stop or Bend Over In Front of a School Bus

Even with bus drivers’ high vantage points, they typically cannot see the ground directly in front of the bus. As a result, parents and students should never stop or bend over directly in front of a school bus. If a student drops something while crossing the road, the student (or the student’s parent) should communicate with the bus driver to let him or her know that something needs to be retrieved out of the bus driver’s view. Once the bus driver acknowledges, then it is safe to pick up the dropped object.

5. Keep All Body Parts Inside the Bus

Finally, parents should remind their children to keep all body parts inside the bus. While the bus driver will likely give these reminders also, bus drivers can’t always see everything going on behind them while they are paying attention to the road. Body parts stuck out of bus windows can strike signs, tree limbs and other objects, and this can potentially lead to serious injuries.

Injury Lawyers for Families in Doylestown, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Stroudsburg

The injury lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis have over 30 years of experience representing individuals and families following vehicle collisions and other accidents. If your family is in need of legal representation, we can help. To speak with a lawyer at our offices in Doylestown, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton or Stroudsburg, please call 888-777-7098 or request a free consultation online today.