6 School Zone Safety Tips for PA Drivers

September 1st, 2022

photo of yellow school bus

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are 1.7 million students in the K-12 educational system of Pennsylvania. Follow the tips below to ensure you do your part to help keep children, teachers, and staff safe in the streets surrounding their school this year.

As the start of Pennsylvania’s 2022-2023 school year grows closer, you’ll begin to see more motorists and pedestrians on the road. Since we have not seen heavily crowded school zones filled with buses, children, and other pedestrians for months during the summer, now is a good time to remind ourselves of the precautions we can take to avoid accidents and injuries.

Here are 6 safety tips to help you be cautious in school zones and prevent crashes and injuries when you’re on the road.

Reduce your speed in school zones. Every school zone’s speed limit in Pennsylvania is 15 miles per hour. You’ll notice speed limit signs with flashing yellow lights as you drive through a school zone during school hours. These signals are there to remind you to slow down to ensure the safety of students, teachers, parents, crossing guards, and other pedestrians. They are designed to help drivers avoid crashes altogether in addition to decreasing the severity of accidents or injuries if they do occur.

Always be ready to stop for students. Children of all ages often fail to think about safe pedestrian etiquette. Elementary school students may forget to look both ways before darting across the street to their friends. High school students cross the street while distracted by their electronic devices. As a motorist, you must look out for forgetful students and be prepared to stop for them.

Don’t block crosswalks. School zones are crowded with pedestrians and motorists at the start and end of the school day. During these times, you must not block crosswalks. Students in a rush might try to continue crossing by going around and slipping through vehicles. These tactics put them in potential danger, especially if they enter a car’s blind spot and the driver isn’t paying attention.

Stop for buses. Buses in a school zone can stop to pick up or drop off children at any moment. When school buses are idling with their stop arm extended and red flashing lights on, you must stop your vehicle 10 feet away from them. You must also stop for buses at intersections regardless of the direction they are going in. It is okay to continue driving when the bus has turned its lights off, pulled in its stop arm, and all children are off the road and safely on the sidewalk.

Eliminate distractions. When entering a school zone, it is crucial to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Turn off your radio or music to hear children or buses approaching. Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the steering wheel, and refrain from texting, answering calls, eating, and drinking.

School Safety Zone Reminders for Students

If you are a student heading back to school, make sure you follow these rules to keep yourself and others safe:

  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Wait until vehicles heading in both directions are fully stopped before proceeding to cross.
  • Always cross the street at crosswalks. If a vehicle is blocking the crosswalk, wait until they move to cross safely.
  • Avoid looking at your cell phone. Put all electronic devices in your pocket or backpack until you enter your school building.
  • Always cross the street in front of your bus when you are getting on or off. Never walk behind your school bus because your driver won’t be able to tell if you’ve made it to a safe destination.

If you or a loved one was injured in a school zone-related accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Flager & Associates today by calling (215) 953-5200. We provide free case evaluations.

Adam Flager, Esq., Associate at Flager & AssociatesWritten by Adam D. Flager, Esq., Associate at Flager & Associates, PC

With his practice focused on litigation, Adam primarily represents clients in personal injury cases, such as motor vehicle, slip and fall, defective products, and construction and worksite accidents. He is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the State of New Jersey, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey, and the United States Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit. Adam received his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 2009, where he graduated with pro-Bono Distinction.

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