This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone
Parents and teachers always aim to maximize student safety both at school and on the journey there. As children head back to class in Boston, emphasis on making streets safe for kids is essential. 29% of Boston’s kindergarten through eighth-grade students travel to and from school by foot, biking, and mass transit. As a result, drivers should be more cautious as they pass through school zones.
Drivers should keep their eyes peeled for kids running into the streets in these areas and limit their speeds in case there’s a need to brake urgently. Mindful behavior on the road can keep drivers, parents, kids, and bus drivers safer as everyone returns to normal.
Basics of Driving Safely in School Zones
Safety for children depends on following road rules. Drivers must always stay alert, follow signs, and look out for children while driving through the streets of Boston.
In 2017, the city of Boston reduced the default speed limit to 25 mph from 30 mph to comply with the mayor’s goal to end traffic fatalities by 2030. The school zones in Massachusetts have speed limits of 20 mph.
Although the speed limits may appear low, you still need to watch out for children when passing through school zones or residential areas. Warning signs, speed bumps, and flashing lights are all in place to deter you from speeding up in these areas where children are more likely to run out into the street.
You can prepare to enter school zones by progressively slowing down as you approach them. Be aware of where they are located along your route and ensure you’ll have sufficient time to stop in response to cars and children.
Be Safe Around School Buses
When children get on or off the school bus, they may sprint across the street and not pay attention to their surroundings. If a school bus is stopped, it’s essential that you do not attempt to pass it; a child may be preparing to cross in front of the vehicle to the opposite side of the street.
If the bus is flashing its lights and extending its stop sign as you approach, stop a significant distance away from the bus. Massachusetts law requires that all vehicles stop at least 100 feet behind a school bus.
Keep Your Eyes on the Streets
As kids return to class, being aware of your surroundings while on the road is more important than ever. Be especially mindful if you’re traveling before 8:00 am or after 2:00 pm because these are the hours when children and parents are transiting to and from school.
Avoid distracted driving of any kind to keep yourself and others safe. The average person takes five seconds to read or send a text message, but research has found that even two short seconds of being distracted can cause a crash.
Under Massachusetts’s Safe Driving Law, it is illegal to send, type, or read messages to or from handheld devices while operating a vehicle. Make a vow to remain distraction-free while driving and answer any texts and phone calls when you are safely parked. If you must answer your phone, pull over at a safe location before doing so.
Always Look Before Reversing
Reversing should be avoided in school zones since any unpredictable movement could scare children as they cross the street, and all vehicles have blind spots where a child might be.
If you are parked on the street and must reverse out of your spot, always look for children around your vehicle before reversing carefully. As you leave your parking spot and drive past parked cars, maintain a safe distance from parked vehicles and keep an eye on the road and the sidewalk for children. Try to get into the left or center lane to give kids walking on the side of the street a wide berth.
Be Cautious at Crosswalks
Crossing guards are not always present at the crosswalks around schools, but there will often be kids and teens using these walkways during the weekdays. Slow down and keep an eye out for pedestrians, who always have the right of way. If a crossing guard is present, obey their instructions.
Stay Safe While Driving in Boston
Everyone must do their part to keep the roads safe during back-to-school season, from parents to kids to bus drivers and other drivers on the streets. During this time, if you or a loved one are involved in a car accident, you can rely on your local Boston car accident attorneys for support. Get the compensation you deserve with a free consultation from Jason Stone Injury Lawyers. Contact us today for a complimentary case evaluation.