School is back in session in Montgomery. A new school year means new teachers, new friends, new lesson plans, and even new dangers for parents, students, and drivers alike.
Summer isn’t just a break from classes—it’s also a break from the daily routine that involves reduced speed limits, crossing guards, and increased traffic. When summer break ends and school is back in session, it can be difficult for everyone to get back in the swing of things, and that includes the morning and afternoon commute.
As a driver, you should keep these tips in mind to reduce your risks and the risks of everyone else on the road this fall.
When you’re approaching a school zone before or after school, there’s a good chance a crossing guard will be present. Keep in mind that, when they’re present, crossing guards dictate right-of-way in school zones—not traffic lights. That means that even if you have a green light at an intersection, or you would normally have right of way at a four-way stop, you can only proceed if the crossing guard waves you through.
If you see a stopped school bus with its stop sign extended, it means you must STOP and that you can’t pass. Passing a school bus with a deployed stop sign isn’t just extremely dangerous—it’s also illegal. Doing so can result in an expensive citation on your license at best and the serious injury or even death of a student at worst. When driving behind a bus in a residential area or near a school, be prepared to stop several times.
Active school zones have significantly reduced speed limits compared to other stretches of the same road. School zone hours may vary, so it’s important to check posted signs for when they’re active. Many active school zones are indicated by warning lights. Exceeding the speed limit in school zones is both dangerous and expensive, as citations are often increased for drivers who get pulled over.
When children are present, you should always expect the unexpected. That’s especially true near schools. Even when crossing guards are directing traffic, there’s always the possibility that a child will run out into the road. And if you’re not paying attention, you may be unable to avoid the child or slow down in time. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on the task at hand.
If you have kids and drive them to school, pick them up, or both, you must ensure they’re as safe as possible in your vehicle. That means securing them appropriately for their age and size. Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats, while older toddlers and preschoolers can ride in forward-facing car seats. Older children should ride in booster seats until at least age 8, while all children should ride in the back seat until they’re at least 13 years old.
When you arrive at your children’s school in the morning or afternoon, it’s important to be safety-conscious both for them and for other kids. Drop them off as close to the door or designated drop-off spot as possible, and do the same in the afternoons when picking them up. Be extra cautious when exiting these areas, as children may be nearby.
Whether it’s the first day of school, the last day of school, or the middle of summer break, we know that crashes can and do happen to even the safest of drivers. And when those crashes result in injuries and are caused by others’ negligence, we work hard to help injured victims get the compensation they’re owed.
If you, your child, or someone you love was injured in a crash, the Montgomery car accident lawyers at Vance Law Firm are here to help. We have decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured drivers in Alabama, and we know what it takes to win their claims. Contact us today for a free consultation.