These last three weeks of August include a very important event for South Carolina families: It's time for the kids to go back to school! As a parent, you know this means your child will be out and about getting to and from school, and you want to make sure they are safe. As experienced pedestrian accident lawyers, we know parents want to keep their kids safe along neighborhood streets and school zones. Below we provide some tips for doing so.
If you have any questions about a recent pedestrian or vehicle accident, we encourage you to call our law firm at 803-799-9400. We proudly represent South Carolina residents who are dealing with serious injuries. We offer a free case evaluation and we can provide answers during difficult times.
How To Be a Safer Driver
One of the best ways you can prevent schoolchildren from suffering pedestrian injuries is to be a safer driver. Here are a few tips for how to do that:
- Eliminate distractions. Distracted driving is excessively dangerous even though it is commonplace. Thousands of accident deaths each year are attributed to distracted driving. Never text and drive, and make a point of paying attention to the task of driving at all times.
- Don't drive drowsy. Although driving tired may seem innocuous, it's actually quite dangerous. Drowsiness affects your reaction time and your ability to make good judgments. Federal safety agencies estimate that at least 100,000 crashes each year are caused by drowsy driving. Sometimes you don't sleep well, and there's not much you can do. But you may be able to make changes – such as sticking to a reasonable bedtime and practicing good "sleep hygiene" – in order to prioritize a good night's rest.
- Prioritize time management. Speeding and reckless driving are always dangerous, including when there are more children traveling to and from school close to rush hour. Motorists tend to speed and take chances when they are running late. To avoid this, really work to stick to a schedule that allows you plenty of time to arrive at your destination.
- Exercise an abundance of caution in school zones and neighborhoods. Even under adult supervision, children have a tendency to suddenly run into roads or dart between vehicles parked in their neighborhoods. Slow down and stay alert in these areas.
These things don't eliminate the risk of an accident, but they help you reduce that risk.
Teaching Children To Be Safer Pedestrians
As a parent, you probably work to set an example for your kids. It should be no different when it comes to pedestrian safety. Here's how you can show them the right way to travel on foot by demonstrating those things yourself:
- Cross the street with them. Young children should be accompanied by you, a crossing guard or another trusted adult when they cross the street. They shouldn't cross alone. There is too much room for error on both the part of the child and the motorist at an intersection.
- Teach them by being an example yourself. Walk with your child on their route to the bus or school. Your children are always watching you. Make sure you are practicing safe habits like looking both ways before crossing, stopping at the curb, crossing only when there are no vehicles in the roadway and continuing to look for vehicles as you cross.
- Teach by explaining things as you do them. As you practice safe pedestrian habits, explain to your child what you are doing: "I am looking both ways before I cross the street. I am making sure there are no cars in the road."
Once your child learns them, these pedestrian habits can go a long way in keeping your child safe.
Bus Safety Tips
If your child travels by bus to get to school, here are some of the main ways to stay safe:
- Walk with your child to the bus stop if possible. If not, see if you can get a neighborhood group to walk to the bus together.
- Teach and show your child the importance of waiting safely for the bus. Roughhousing, pushing and getting carried away can cause a child to inadvertently get in the path of traffic.
- Teach your child how to get on the bus safely: Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and for the bus driver to open the door.
- Let your child know they should never walk behind the bus where the driver can't see them.
- Talk to your child about staying visible near the bus. They are small and the bus is big. It's already difficult for the driver to see them. If they drop something in front of or near the bus, they should never stop and bend down to pick it up. Instead, they should let the driver or an adult know they dropped the object.
There are many more bus safety tips. Ask your child's school for more resources, or visit the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Avoiding Tragic Accidents and Injuries
Pedestrian accidents can lead to very severe physical injuries. When you are traveling along a roadway by foot, you are left completely vulnerable to injuries should an accident occur. You have no protection like the motorist does. Debilitating and deadly injuries can result.
While the idea of a pedestrian accident is scary, you can do things to prevent such an occurrence. With the tips above, you can arm your children with the right tools to stay safe.
What To Do If Someone Else Causes an Injury
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe injury as a result of someone else's negligence, please call Whetstone Perkins & Fulda for a free claim review, at 803-799-9400. We have offices in Columbia, Kingstree and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.