Macomb County Child Injury Risk Spikes Amid in Back-to-School Rush
School districts in Macomb County and throughout Michigan are back in session, and it's imperative that motorists be alert and careful as they travel the roads.
Although school officials have cautioned students about walking while texting, with heads down or with earbuds in their ears, the bigger problem really seems to be the behavior of motorists who are trying to navigate the busy morning and afternoon rushes - some of them parents themselves.
To make sure pedestrians and bicyclists stay safe during this 2018-2019 school year, the National Safety Council released two back-to-school safety checklists, one for students and another for drivers.
Back-to-School Means Sharing the Road
The start of the new school year isn't just a change for parents, students and faculty. It impacts everyone else who is using the road. More congestion is inevitable, and the risk of accidents is elevated.
With everyone seemingly in a hurry, it's never been more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention. Doing this alone will help significantly reduce the risk of a serious crash.
Most Michigan schools have very stringent drop-off and pick-up procedures. It's imperative for parents and students to take note and review. Beyond that, in the drop-off lane you should:
- Avoid double-parking. If you do this, you risk blocking visibility of other drivers as well as children.
- Load and unload your children as close as possible to the school, according to the school's rules. Unloading farther away might be faster for you, but it's more dangerous for your child.
- If you can, consider carpooling to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and in the line, ultimately making it safer for all students.
An increasing number of schools are encouraging students to walk and bike to school. But it's only as safe as those sharing the road with them make it. When driving, you're encouraged to:
- Avoid texting and/or talking on the phone while you're driving. Reduce any distractions you have so you won't be tempted to divert your attention from the road ahead.
- Whenever you see school bus lights flashing, slow down and prepare to stop.
- Be mindful of children playing near the bus stop. They may not always calculate the danger of passing cars nearby.
- If you are driving in an area with no sidewalks, be especially mindful of children bicycling and walking to and from school.
- Don't roll through stop signs. Doing this jeopardizes student commuter safety because not only might you fail to see a child pedestrian approaching, you may force one to walk around (or jump away from) your vehicle, potentially putting them in conflict with traffic.
Parents of student pedestrians and bicyclists should consider going with them the first few times at least, not only because it's busier but so you'll be confident your child understands the basic rules of navigating the street.