When you’re driving through a school zone, you may not be aware of the different laws and rules that apply. These laws and rules exist to keep children and those in charge of them safe from accidents. During school drop-off and when class ends for the day, a school zone is a busy area full of excited children, parents and guardians picking up their kids, and buses picking up children who live further away. As a driver, you want to make sure you’re well-versed in the laws and how to drive safely through these areas.
Tips for Driving Safely in School Zones
Because there are so many people in school zones, it’s imperative to drive slowly. When driving through a school zone between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a school day, drivers need to follow the speed limit of 20 mph. If anyone quickly pulls out or runs out in front of your car, you’ll be traveling at a speed that will give you more time to react and stop your car in a shorter distance, which can help prevent an accident. The penalties for speeding through a school zone are a $150 minimum fine for the first offense and $300 minimum fine for the second or subsequent offense.
You also need to be attentive. Distracted driving is never acceptable. Do not text, make calls, or try to multitask when you’re behind the wheel. While mounted GPS and other hands-free actions may be permissible, be mindful that they can distract your eyes from the road. While in a school zone, the only time you can make a phone call is if there’s an emergency and you’re calling for help. If someone was driving while distracted and caused an accident where you were injured, we can help you with your auto crash claim.
When you’re in school zones during their busiest times, be prepared to stop for periods of time as people cross the street, kids are getting picked up, and when the buses let children out. It’s important to remain calm and be patient during these times. Road rage or aggressive driving can lead people to make rash decisions while driving, which can cause accidents. Since there are so many pedestrians in a school zone, an accident caused by an impatient driver could result in numerous serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
If the route to your destination takes you through a school zone, consider timing the drive so you go through at a low-traffic time. You may also want to try to find an alternative route that avoids the school zone so you don’t get caught in the traffic.
Encountering Crossing Guards
Crossing guards help children safely cross the street and will occasionally prevent traffic from continuing until everyone is safely across the road. Drivers need to obey crossing guards as they’re the ones with authority to direct traffic. If drivers ignore a crossing guard’s direction, Illinois Vehicle Code 5/11-203 states the person convicted of willfully failing or refusing to listen to a crossing guard can lose driving privileges for three months if it’s their first offense or up to a year if it’s a repeated offense. They can also be fined $150 for the first offense and $500 for a repeated offense.
Driving Near a School Bus
If you’re driving near a school bus, be sure to give the bus plenty of space as it will need time to slow down to a complete stop. When the bus is dropping off children, the lights on the bus will flash and a stop sign will be extended. Drivers need to obey this sign and stop. As kids rush out of the bus, they will likely not look both ways or not even think about oncoming traffic. They often run straight for their destination. Kids exit the bus on the right side, so never pass a bus on the right. It is imperative you never drive past a bus that’s stopped and dropping off children.
Those who ignore these laws can lose their license for three months and be fined a minimum of $300 for the first offense. Subsequent violations can result in the loss of their license for a year and they can be fined $1,000.
While you may take measures to drive safely through school zones, others around you may not. In some cases, their negligence can cause accidents. If you’ve been injured by an irresponsible driver, a Peru car accident lawyer from Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today for a free, no obligation consultation. We are here to focus on your legal case so you can focus on healing.