When an incident occurs between a vehicle and a pedestrian or bicyclist, it can affect your rates for auto insurance, just as it would between you and another vehicle. With Labor Day falling on September 1st this year, it means between the holiday and children going back to school to start a new school year, it’s very important for drivers to review safety precautions and laws regarding pedestrians, bicyclists, school buses and school zones.
Disobeying the law regarding schools and school buses can impact more than just your auto insurance– it can have tragic consequences on those personally involved. Therefore, The National Safety Council (NSC) has listed several important things to remember when driving near schools, children, pedestrians, bicyclists and school buses:
- In Arizona and every other state in the country, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to either load or unload children. Red flashing lights and a stop sign extending from the bus on the driver’s side must be obeyed by all motorists, whether in a car, motorcycle, moped, etc. Traffic in both directions must stop on undivided roadways.
- Give children space and time to safely enter and exit a school bus and to be on their way. Children are most in danger of being hit within a 10-foot perimeter around the bus. Never, ever pass a school bus on the right. It is dangerous, illegal, and can bring about tragic consequences.
- Be aware of other drivers; students who drive to school are often novice drivers who may also be easily distracted.
- Always stop for pedestrians, whether they are children or adults. Be careful not to block crosswalks when stopping at a red light or when you are waiting to turn. When pedestrians have to walk around your vehicle, it puts them in a dangerous situation. Watch for crossing guards, whose stop signs are legal and must be obeyed. In school zones with blinking warning flashing lights, you must stop and yield to pedestrians, regardless of whether there is a marked crosswalk or not.
- Children can be difficult to see, and there are likely more in the area once you see one. Don’t honk your horn or rev your engine when pedestrians are crossing at a crosswalk in front of you.
- Be aware of bicyclists. When passing, leave at least three feet between you and they bicyclist. If you don’t have at least this space to pass, wait until you do. The most common causes of accidents with bicycles happen when drivers turn left in front of an oncoming bicycle or turning right across the path of the bicycle. Wait for a bicyclist to pass before you make the turn; let him or her go through the intersection first.
- Watch for bicycles coming out of driveways or from behind parked cars or other obstructions. Always slow down in and near school zones, especially when children are present before and after school has begun and ended.
For answers to questions and for more information on school and holiday safety, contact us at Summit Insurance Advisors – we’re here to help.