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What are Important Back-to-School Driving Tips for Students?

August 9, 2021


Many parents look forward to when children go back to school, but when their teenagers will be driving over the school year, some parents may feel anxious. In 2019, approximately 258,000 individuals between 13 to 19 years old ended up in emergency rooms after being injured in a motor vehicle accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Parents have the right to worry about their children.

Those most at risk for car accidents are unsupervised teenagers who are driving with friends, newly licensed teenagers, and males drivers between 16 and 19 years old. When compared to female drivers, male motorists are twice as likely to be involved in fatal car accidents.

Additionally, there are millions of drivers between 16 to 20 years old in the United States, and teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents compared to adults. Since teenagers are at risk for accidents, it is important that they practice safe driving. Listed below are crucial driving tips for students.

Be Careful Around School Buses

When school is in session, all motorists have to change their driving habits. School buses are large and stop often, so it is important to be patient and to leave them extra room when following behind. It is against the law to pass stopped school buses. Motorists should look for the flashing red or yellow lights and extended stop arms. Drivers should remember to allow at least 10 feet to give the children enough room to enter and exit the school bus.

Yield to Pedestrians

School zones are filled with young walkers and bicyclists, and they should always be given the right-of-way. If there are flashing lights or a crossing guard directing traffic in a school zone, drivers are required to stop and yield for all pedestrians.

Crosswalks should never be blocked when drivers are waiting to make turns because this forces pedestrians to walk around the vehicles. Drivers should also never pass other cars that are stopped for pedestrians, and revving the engine or beeping the horn to scare a pedestrian is rude and frightening.

Know Drop-Off and Pick-Up Procedures

Dropping off or picking up children at school can be overwhelming and chaotic when schools do not have specified drop-off or pick-up procedures. If they do, families will be notified before the first day of school arrives. This information should be read over carefully and followed. Otherwise, there are some general guidelines that apply to all school zones:

  • Carpool whenever it is possible. This way, there are less vehicles sharing the small space in a school zone.
  • Never unload or load children across the street from the school.
  • Never double-park a vehicle in a school zone. This blocks visibility for everyone, and it can make it difficult or impossible for pedestrians and other vehicles to get around the vehicle.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Many teenagers are addicted to their cellphones, and this kind of distraction is known to cause auto accidents. Distracted driving also includes looking for radio stations, checking the navigation device, eating, drinking, personal grooming, and talking to other passengers.

Parents and caregivers can stress the importance of avoiding distractions. Parents should tell their teenagers that they must put their phones on Do Not Disturb mode or silent. Drivers should also avoid eating, drinking, or personal grooming while driving. It is also important that only one other person is in the vehicle. Parents should state that driving privileges will be revoked when rules are not followed.

Get Adequate Rest

Cellphone addiction can also cause teenagers to stay up later than they should, which can lead to drowsy driving in the morning or even after school. Teenagers are prone to sleep deprivation for other reasons as well, such as staying up late to complete homework or to study for tests.

Being fatigued at the wheel can be compared to driving under the influence because many of the symptoms are the same, like the inability to focus, having a slow reaction time, and aggressive behavior. Drowsy driving continues to be a top cause of car accidents.

Why are Teenagers Prone to Accidents?

A main reason why teenagers are prone to car accidents is that they lack driving experience. Younger drivers are not familiar with dangerous situations, and they can make wrong decisions that cause devastating accidents. They are also less likely to use their seat belts, and this applies to drivers as well as passengers. A Transportation Risk Behaviors Among High School Students survey revealed that approximately 43 percent of high school students in the United States do not buckle up when they are passengers.

It is also more dangerous to drive on weekends and at night. Driving back and forth from school presents additional risks as well. There can be many vehicles on the road because school times often coincide with morning and afternoon rush hour traffic. The roads and streets can be full of slow-moving school buses and walking students.

Why Should Parents Have Important Conversations With Teenage Drivers?

Teenagers often dislike it when their parents tell them what to do, so instead of nagging, it might be better to sit down and have real conversations with them about the importance of avoiding distractions and getting enough sleep. Setting rules about cellphone and creating a schedule can help students stay safe. Schoolwork and extra-curricular activities can take up a lot of time, but parents have busy schedules as well. Parents and teenagers can help each other by sharing errands, being respectful, and helping with chores. Simple steps, like getting up 10 minutes earlier every day to set out clothing and put items in the backpack, can help out as well.

Parents should actively help their children’s driving habits, and they should remind them to pay attention to traffic signals and signs. Teenage drivers are more likely to tailgate and speed, and they often think that nothing can harm them. Also, the start of school can bring new relationships, friends, and even parties. It is important that parents reiterate that drunk driving is extremely dangerous and should always be avoided It is also reported that drunk driving is a factor in many teen-related accidents. Female motorists under 21 years old are not as likely to drink and drive compared to male drivers.

Parents should make it a priority to discuss the dangers of driving to their children, especially before the school session begins. If a back-to-school car accident does happen, it is important to speak to a lawyer about the legal options.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Advocate for Safe Back-to-School Driving

It is important that both teenagers and their parents review back-to-school driving tips. Even with precautions, car accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one becomes involved in a collision, a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can help. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we understand that back-to-school car accidents are complex, and we can help you figure out the next best steps. Call us at 757-352-2237 or complete our online form today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

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