While it is still the middle of summer, it is easy for drivers to forget what driving in school zones and stopping for buses was like. However, school is just around the corner. There is never a bad time to think about pedestrian safety, especially considering that people of all ages are always walking and bicycling near traffic in Las Vegas.
Being hit by cars near schools is one of the top causes of death and injury to children, as well as the most common place for child pedestrians to be struck. To address the serious issue of children and traffic, the National Safety Council has designated August as Back to School Safety Month.
What can drivers do to reduce the risk of hitting a child this summer and in the upcoming school months? The following are a few safety tips provided by the NSC.
Drive slower and be vigilant in areas where children are likely to be, such as near schools, parks and playgrounds and in residential areas.
Stop when a school bus has its warning lights on and the safety arm extended. Never attempt to pass a school bus that is stopped to let children on or off, or to pass other vehicles that are stopped for children crossing the street. Also, stop for crossing guards and others who are helping children in the crosswalk.
Do not stop inside a crosswalk at a red light or when trying to make a turn. This gives pedestrians less room to cross the street and could put them in the way of traffic.
Understand that children do not always follow traffic rules and may take risks, such as darting out unexpectedly into the street. Give them the right of way, even if they are not observing the rules. Do not honk the horn at pedestrians, which may scare them and increase the danger.
Drivers should also be alert for children riding their bicycles this summer and when school starts. Children often fail to ride their bikes in a safe manner, such as swerving across the street in front of cars or not riding in the direction of traffic. Being more cautious and aware at all times while driving may prevent a tragedy.