It’s not just your imagination – there are more vehicles on the roads, both back roads and highways, when school is back in session. College and high school student drivers add to traffic, along with buses and parents hurrying through their morning drop-offs. During this frenetic time, there are more chances for accidents.
To help keep everyone safer during the back to school transition, the National Safety Council has a number of recommendations to keep in mind when navigating the roadways:
Watch for young pedestrians: Though you should always be aware of pedestrians, be especially cautious near schools. The majority of children who are struck by cars are hit near schools. You can help your children and others be safe near schools by:
- Avoiding double parking
- Never parking across from the school, so that children have to cross the road
- Never pass a car waiting for pedestrians
- Never block a crosswalk when making a turn or when stopped at a red light as it causes walkers to have to walk in the path of moving traffic
Be aware of buses: Children ages 4 to 7 years old are especially vulnerable to being hit by passing cars. Always stop for a school bus. It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped for dropping off or picking up children in all 50 states.
Help your teenager drive safer: The fatal crash rate for drivers 16-19 is three times the rate for drivers over 20. Back to school time can be challenging as tentative young drivers acclimate to different schedules and navigate among aggressive drivers. Help your young driver with these tips:
- Leave 10 minutes earlier than necessary. Rushing leads to aggressive driving. Encourage your teen to set an alarm to remind them it is time to leave.
- Insist on seat belts. In 2019, 43% of students surveyed admitted to not always wearing a seatbelt when with friends, according to the Centers for Disease Control. At least 48% of teen drivers and passengers aged 16-19 years of age died in passenger crashes that same year due to not wearing a seatbelt.
- Teach them to keep calm. Remind teens simply to move out of the way for aggressive drivers to let them pass, rather than getting frustrated and angry.
- Dump distractions. They have heard it already, but make it a rule to avoid texting and talking on their cell phones – even hands-free – while driving. Consider setting up the do not disturb features on their phone to help them avoid temptation. Also, keep in mind eating and drinking can be distracting.
Parents should also remind children walking to and from school to pay attention to their surroundings. The National Safety Council recommends:
- Never walking while texting or talking on the phone
- If texting, to move out of the way of others and to stop on the sidewalk
- Never to cross the street while using an electronic device
- To not walk with headphones in ears
- Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available
- Look both ways before crossing the street
- Cross only at crosswalks
MAPFRE Insurance also offers MotionSmartSM in the state of Massachusetts which is a great insurance program to reinforce safe driving. MotionSmart collects and analyzes driving data and displays an overall driving score assessed by combining hard braking, hard acceleration, hard cornering, speeding, and phone use. You can potentially lower your premiums through safe driving!
We hope you find these back to school safety tips helpful! And don’t forget to make sure you have the correct coverage on your auto insurance in Massachusetts with MAPFRE. Get a fast, free quote today to see how much you could save!