Schools in Kentucky and Tennessee are either already in session or just ramping up for the first day of school. As college kids, teens and young children head back to class, here at Hughes & Coleman, we wanted to provide some back to school safety reminders.
Parents are ever aware of the issues of bullying at school and their own concerns for their child’s safety.
However, a lurking danger can be getting children to school according to research by Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a nonprofit that promotes kids walking to school.
In a recent study they produced, they found that 23,000 children ages 5-15 were injured while walking or bicycling. More than 250 were killed while walking or bicycling. These chilling numbers are why as schools get back into session, experts are urging caution and good road safety.
“Back to school means sharing the streets with young pedestrians,” said Sygic, a popular GPS navigation company that tracks traffic patterns and trends.
“Children are often unpredictable, so pay extra attention when driving in the school areas, near playgrounds & parks, and in residential areas. Don’t forget to watch out for pedestrians when parking as well.”
Steps For Back to School Safety
1) Avoid road rage
Aggressive driving plays a role in 66% of traffic fatalities and 50% of people who encounter aggressive behavior respond in kind, says Geico Insurance.
Particularly this time of year, when a rash action can mean a quick decision that endangers another, it’s best to prevent the circumstances that would lead to road rage.
“Plan ahead,” says Geico. “Allow time for delays during your journey.”
They also noted that common road rage causes are being cut off, stuck behind a slow driver, or fighting over a parking space.
2) Arrive early to find a place to park
If dropping a child off at school also involves walking them to class, arriving early is key. Aside from the stress of finding a place to park, other drivers can be just as distracted, warned Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI)
“With more people on the roads, often driving in unfamiliar territory, the potential for a traffic crash increases,” they said. Timing is key for most parents dropping off their kids in the morning.
“Parents often do not have enough time to drop their kids off and then get to the office, so they feel rushed and stressed. This can be avoided by trying out the route beforehand and allowing some extra time,” said Sygic.
3) If you’re dropping your child off make sure they know exactly where they need to go.
“The first weeks of the new school year are usually the most hectic because people are not yet used to the fact that the relaxed summer time is over,” cautioned Sygic. “Everybody is trying to get back to normal or just adjust to new routines.”
Being sure your children know what to expect from their first day of school, where the class is, etc., can go along way to relieving their stress and yours.
4) Be patient
Sometimes the drop-off queue in front of the school can be long. The key is to be patient.
When in a school zone especially, the National Safety Council cautioned drivers to stop and yield to pedestrians, to always stop for a crossing guard holding up a stop sign, and to always use extreme caution.
5) Be sure children walking are safe
According to the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related accidents are four to seven years old and are walking.
“They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus,” they said.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership warned that “people walking are more than twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle in locations without sidewalks.”
It’s very important that parents ensure that their child knows a safe route to school, knows how to cross streets safely, and what to do if their route is potentially dangerous for any reason. This includes knowing to never take rides from strangers.
If parents and children are alert to these safety tips, we at Hughes & Coleman have every expectation of an accident-free school year.