What You Should Know to Be Safe in School Zones
School zones on roads are meant to keep children safe as they come to and from school. Even with safety in mind, these zones can also pose a risk for motorists and other pedestrians alike. Every year, over 50 million children of school-age either walk or bike to their school or pass through school zones in some other fashion after they have gotten off the bus or gotten out of a parent or caregiver’s vehicle. With so many children and vehicles in one area, school zones can often be risky for injury or even death.
Follow the Traffic Rules
It is illegal for a motorist to pass through a regular stop sign or pass through a stop sign being held by a crossing guard or safety representative. Regardless of the situation, the motorist must stop, and this is the same law carried by all 50 states. In addition to stopping, motorists should also make sure to come to a complete stop in the area before the crosswalk – blocking the crosswalk forces children to walk around the vehicle and outside designated crosswalk lanes, which can put them at further risk of being injured.
Watch Your Speed
School zones have a reduced speed from the rest of the area, which is usually reduced to 20 mph or less. Studies have shown that pedestrians hit by a vehicle at 20 mph are likely to suffer a fatality, and this risk goes up substantially by 45 percent at 30 mph and 80 percent for vehicles traveling at 40 mph, not to mention children have a much higher risk of fatality based on their size alone. Always make sure to strictly follow the speed limit within school zones to help reduce the risk of a fatal accident.
When school is about to start or when it has let out for the day, school zones can be very busy areas. With so many adults, vehicles, and children in the area, it is important to keep very alert when traveling through a school zone. Children might run and play to and from the school bus, their caregiver’s vehicle, or on their walk to or from school, and they can often come out of nowhere. By slowing down in school zones and remaining highly alert, it is possible to help avoid an accident that could cause a serious injury.
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