As the school season gears up and students head back to their classrooms, there is a heightened need for awareness and caution on the roads. The influx of young pedestrians, combined with increased traffic, can lead to potential accidents that both drivers and pedestrians should be aware of.
Staying vigilant and following safety guidelines is the best way to prevent unfortunate incidents. Here is a look at situations that could lead to accidents.
1. Distracted walking and driving
Distracted walking and driving are two major contributors to accidents in school zones. With the advent of smartphones, pedestrians and drivers alike are often engrossed in their devices. Pedestrians may not pay attention while crossing the road, while drivers may take their eyes off the road to send a text or make a call. Focusing attention on walking and driving can easily prevent such accidents.
2. Speeding in school zones
Ohio law mandates speed limits within school zones to 20 mph. However, some drivers may disregard this, putting pedestrians at risk. All drivers need to slow down when traveling near a school to allow for better reaction time and the ability to avoid serious accidents.
3. Crossing at non-designated areas
Jaywalking is a common issue as students rush to school. It is easy for a child to decide to cross mid-block rather than using crosswalks to save time. Drivers may not anticipate pedestrians crossing unexpectedly, leading to potential accidents. Encouraging students to use crosswalks and waiting for the signal can significantly reduce the risk of collisions.
4. Not yielding to pedestrians
Drivers have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. Failing to do so can result in accidents that cause serious injuries. Drivers should be aware of this and exercise caution.
5. Limited visibility
As the school season coincides with the changing seasons, limited visibility can be a contributing factor to accidents. In Ohio, it is common for early mornings to be foggy, and school start times often occur before the sun is up. These factors make it harder for both pedestrians and drivers to see each other. Using headlights, reflective clothing and keeping windshields clean can improve visibility and prevent accidents.
The start of the school season brings an increased risk of pedestrian accidents. Both pedestrians and drivers can help to ensure a smooth and accident-free school season by remaining vigilant, following traffic rules and prioritizing safety.