Florida roads are about to get a little trickier to navigate as many of our children go back to school Aug. 10. More vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians will be taking to the road during the before- and after-school hours, and Lakewood Financial wants you and your children to stay safe. We offer these back-to-school safe-driving reminders:
School zone zen
“More children are hit by cars near schools than any other location,” according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Extra traffic at drop-off and pick-up times, inexperienced teenage drivers, and children walking and biking, sometimes unpredictably, all add up a situation that requires extra vigilance. (And remember, fines for speeding through a school zone are doubled. If you’re caught going 30 miles over the speed limit in a school zone, for example, your fine will be $555.50.) As frustrating as reduced speeds in school zones can be, they’re there for a reason.
How would you like to play chauffeur for 50-plus rowdy grade-schoolers? Show courtesy for school bus drivers, and yield to buses wanting to merge. If you’re driving behind a bus, allow yourself extra room to brake safely since buses stop often and sometimes unexpectedly. And remember that it’s illegal to pass a school bus from behind—or from either direction on an undivided road—when it’s stopped to load or unload children.
According to the Safe Routes to Schools Organization, 33% of youth pedestrian crashes are due to kids darting out into the road. Be sure to watch for all pedestrians, but take extra care when children are near. Yield to pedestrians crossing at a crosswalk or intersection, and stop for a crossing guard holding a stop sign. Don’t block the crosswalk if you’re stopped at an intersection or waiting to make a turn. This can cause pedestrians to go around you, possibly forcing them into moving traffic. Also, don’t pass a car that’s stopped for a pedestrian.
Ditch the distractions
We know you don’t text while driving, but did you know it only takes about three seconds of taking your eyes off the road to double your chances of crashing? Minimize or completely steer clear of anything that takes your eyes off the road or distracts your mind from your driving. That means things like talking on a cell phone, fiddling with the radio or your iPod, eating, and drinking. And always remember to buckle your seat belt—unbelted drivers are more likely to be distracted drivers than belted ones.
As kids go back to school, remember these few common sense rules to keep both children and drivers safe, and your driving record clean.
Safe drivers not only save lives, they save money. If you have a clean driving record, be sure to check with your Lakewood Financial agent to make sure you’re receiving all available discounts for safe driving.