man and two kids getting backpacks out of the car

5 Driving Tips for Back to School Season

Helpful Tips for Adults and Teens

Whether this is your first child or fifth, every parent can use a refresher on back to school driving tips when the end of summer rolls around. Likewise, teens in charge of their own morning commute may need a few helpful hints for navigating the morning rush.

No matter your age, here are five things to remember when taking kids back to the classroom.

1. Understand School Bus Etiquette

If you opt to take your child to school rather than have them ride the bus, there are few things you can do to ensure that both vehicles make it to campus safely. The National Safety Council provides these helpful reminders:

  • It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus (in either direction) with its stop signal arm and red flashing lights displayed.
  • Even after the signal arm is no longer displayed, proceed slowly and watch for children who may be lingering near the road.
  • Always allow a greater stopping distance between your vehicle and the bus.
  • Remember that a bus's blind spot is larger than the average car, so avoid lingering in these areas.

2. Know How to Navigate the Pick Up Line

Every school pick-up/drop-off line has an unspoken set of rules that make the whole process run a lot smoother. However, if not every driver is on the same page, it can result in someone getting hurt. Here are three things to remember:

  • Don't use any kind of handheld device — not only is it illegal, but it can also be dangerous if you are moving in the line while not paying attention.
  • Encourage your child to only cross in front of your vehicle (never behind) so that you can ensure they are getting to the door safely.
  • If your child has already gotten in/out of the vehicle, avoid attempting to cut around the car ahead of yours. Doing this may inhibit your ability to see children in the roadway and cause a highly preventable accident.

3. Avoid Reckless Driving in a School Zone

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is adamant about ensuring that all drivers know how to navigate school zones and improve roadway safety when children are present. As such, the state has laws specific to school zones, including:

  • The speed limit is 25 mph when within 500 to 1000 feet of a school zone unless otherwise posted.
  • As mentioned previously, cellphone use is prohibited when driving in California but especially in school zones where children are present.
  • School crossing guards have the authority in a school zone, so pay attention if they give you directions or are in the roadway.

4. Watch for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Pedestrians and bicyclists on the road during the school year is not an uncommon occurrence. In both rural and urban areas, you can expect to see more families utilizing this method of transportation. While most school zone laws apply to areas within 1000 feet of the schoolyard, motorists should be watching for pedestrians and bicyclists at least a mile away. When passing someone on a bike or on foot, slow down and give them at least three feet of clearance, per state law.

5. The Easiest Defensive Driving Techniques for Teens

Making that first school commute can be stressful for a new driver, but keeping defensive driving techniques in the back of your mind can help you through a tricky situation. Some of the easiest ones for teens to remember are:

  • Avoid getting behind the wheel when feeling sad, angry, or tired.
  • Keep a three-second distance between you and the car ahead of you (increase this during inclement weather).
  • Even if you may be late to school, avoid speeding as it can increase your chances of losing control of the vehicle.
  • Stay alert and continuously scan the roadway for potential hazards.
  • Keep your seatbelt fastened from the driveway to your school parking spot.

Commit to roadway safety this back-to-school season by practicing all of these tips and tricks.

How Our LA Accident Attorneys Can Help

Our Levitt, Leichenger & Aberle LLP team is dedicated to helping your family have the safest back to school season possible. However, even if you follow all the road rules, a negligent driver can still cause a collision.

If a member of your family sustains an injury on California roadways this school year, we can help. Call (323) 524-2400 or fill out this short form to get in touch with a member of our team.

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