With nearly 100,000 Albuquerque students returning to school in August, back to school driving safety is a must. Drivers need to readjust their habits to accommodate students commuting to and from school. The New Mexico personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys have assembled a list of back to school driving safety tips to help you avoid needless accidents.
Driving in and Near School Zones
Special care must be exercised when driving in school zones. While some of the following back to school driving safety tips are common sense, there are many drivers that don’t follow the law or drive haphazardly around schools.
This can be lethal, especially around youngsters that are paying more attention to their friends than their surroundings. To help avoid an automotive tragedy near schools, please heed the following advice.
- Obey the speed limit: Most New Mexico school zones have a posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour. It’s vital to obey the speed limit while children are going to and leaving school. Going 10 miles per hour over the limit can exponentially increase the severity of a car accident. Keeping under the speed limit is a simple way to avoid a grave accident.
- Never block a crosswalk: Leaving enough space between your vehicle and a crosswalk is essential. Partially blocking a crosswalk may cause students to walk around the designated boundaries and into traffic.
- Always come to a complete stop: Many drivers are guilty of executing rolling stops at stop signs. While technically illegal, it can also be hazardous to pedestrians. Coming to a complete stop is a clear sign to pedestrians. A rolling stop could make a driver’s intentions unclear and lead to an accident.
- Always stop for a crossing guard: This is another tip that seems completely straightforward, but some drivers are guilty of violating. Some drivers disregard crossing guards since they are not law enforcement officials. They are public servants that are there for the safety of students and their instructions should be respected.
- Never pass a car stopped for pedestrians: Some inattentive drivers see a car stopped in front of them and attempt to pass it. That car is rightly stopping for pedestrians and should not be passed. Considering how common crossing the street is in school zones, it’s inexcusable to pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
Driving Near School Buses
School buses carry precious cargo and it’s important to drive cautiously when you’re sharing the road with them. Similar to driving in school zones, many of these back to school driving safety tips are common sense. With the school season starting, some drivers may need to become reacclimated with driving near school buses. Here’s a refresher on the basic rules.
- Always stop when a school bus’ stop sign is extended: This seems completely straightforward, right? However, there are some drivers that attempt to pass school buses even though the stop sign is extended and lights are flashing. It is illegal to pass a school bus while it’s loading or unloading passengers.
- Keep a safe distance behind school buses: Generous following distances should be used when driving behind a school bus. Driving can be unpredictable and a distance of at least 10 feet can help avoid bus accidents.
- Allow time for street crossing: Sometimes students have to cross the street after getting off of a school bus. Just because the bus drives off doesn’t mean it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. Give kids ample time to safely cross the street.
Sharing the Road with Student Bicyclists
Students that bike to and from school are particularly vulnerable. They’re commuting on the streets and are exposed. Experienced drivers need to help keep them safe. Here are some back to school driving safety tips to help avoid bicycle accidents.
- Pass bicyclists slowly and leave ample space: Unlike passing another car, passing a bicyclist should be done at relatively slow speeds. Also, leave at least three feet between your car and the bike rider.
- Always use your turn signals: Many people annoyingly fail to use their turn signals. When sharing the road with bicyclists, this can be deadly. Sometimes turn signals are only for a bicyclist to be aware of a driver’s intentions.
- Turning left: When turning left and a bicyclist is coming from the opposite direction, let him or her pass you before turning.
- Turning right: When turning right and a bicyclist is behind you, let him or her cross the intersection before you before turning.
Back to School Driving Safety Is Imperative
The attorneys at Lerner and Rowe hope that every student in Albuquerque starts off the school year happily and safely. We encourage you to do your part to ensure that back to school driving safety is a priority to you, your family, and your friends.
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident in a school zone or with a school bus, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys immediately. Our team is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may also contact us by phone at 505-544-4444 or online through our convenient LiveChat and form features.