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Back to school safety tips for drivers

As the new school year commences, so do some unique driving challenges. Children might be crossing streets, school buses might be stopping unexpectedly and other drivers might be pulled over to pick up kids from school. To keep everyone safe, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind next time you hit the road.

Staying safe around school buses

It is essential to practice safe driving around a school bus, as children are constantly boarding and getting off. Always stay further behind the bus than you would with a car or other vehicle, as it gives you more time to stop when the flashing lights come on. Never pass a stopped bus - this is illegal and could get you in serious trouble. Additionally, it is important to:

  • Leave at least 10 feet between you and the bus when stopping.
  • Keep an eye out for children walking across the road or standing on the edge of the road.
  • Wait to move until the stop arm has gone back and the lights have stopped flashing.

Staying safe around young pedestrians

Unfortunately, many small children lose their lives each year when they are hit by a car or bus. Most of these children are between 4 and 7 years old and are on foot. According to state law, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. On a road with no crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to drivers. Regardless, always remember to:

  • Never block crosswalks or intersections, as this forces pedestrians to walk around you and possibly go into moving traffic.
  • Keep an eye out for crossing guards or flashing school zone signs, as this means pedestrians are likely.
  • Never pass any vehicle that's stopped or pulled over to let pedestrians cross.

Staying safe around bicyclists

According to New York state law, bicyclists must follow the same rules as vehicles when it comes to riding on the right and yielding to pedestrians. However, not all bicyclists have the dexterity and knowledge to properly navigate heavy traffic. Since many children ride their bikes to school, it is important to always:

  • Pass bicyclists with caution, leaving three feet between you and them.
  • Keep an eye out for bicyclists turning in front of you unexpectedly.
  • Check your mirrors before turning or getting out of the car, as bicyclists might be coming up behind you.

If you'd like more information on driver safety in the state of New York or have been involved in a pedestrian accident, you may need the assistance of an attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

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