Did you know that over 1.4 million people live in Hillsborough County? This doesn’t even include the residents of Pinellas, Pasco, or Sarasota Counties, which border the Tampa metropolitan area.
When school resumes in August, there will be more people using the roads during the morning and afternoon hours. There will be children everywhere, and they pose safety challenges to drivers, everyone from age 16 to 100. Young children especially have limited awareness of traffic safety, and their parents rely on experienced drivers to watch out for them on and near the roadway.
It’s Back-to-School Season!
This time of year is busy as parents try to stock up for everything their children need for school. While there may be great discounts on clothing and school supplies, traffic conditions will be unpredictable. Both children and adults will use a variety of transportation methods, including walking, biking, carpooling, and bus transit to get to school.
It’s easy to forget there are public, private, and charter school systems with different schedules and home-schooling families transporting their kids as well. Any time of the day, even as early as 5:00 AM, there can be children on the sidewalks, in the crosswalk, on the side of the road, and standing near the edge of their driveway. It’s not enough to slow down in safety zones or obey traffic signs and signals.
As a Tampa driver, please practice greater awareness of your surroundings, allow enough time for the commute, and follow these tips for back-to-school traffic:
1. Hire a mechanic to inspected and service your vehicle.
Your vehicle needs tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and lights that work. These will help you to operate a vehicle safely on the road.
2. Listen to traffic reports on the radio.
You can avoid a route where traffic is slowing down or is completely blocked, by listening in ahead of time.
3. Plan outdoor exercise for non-peak traffic times.
Riding your bike, walking, or jogging early in the morning makes it difficult for drivers to see you on the road.
4. Allow extra time for children to cross safely.
Many children walk to their bus stop or school, and their route does not include crossing guards or parental supervision.
5. Learn and use biking hand signals.
As a driver, be aware which way bicyclists are turning on the road. If you’re on a bike, use these signals to inform other drivers on the road.
6. Plan to avoid construction zones and four-way stops.
When you’re in a hurry, these slow spots will impede on your progress.
7. Don’t block intersections or traffic crosswalks.
All vehicles, including school buses and emergency vehicles, need to be able to turn without obstruction. Pedestrians and bicyclists may also get hit if you are blocking the flow of traffic.
8. Learn each school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures.
You may not be transporting kids to school, but a school may be located near your home or workplace. Every driver needs to understand each school’s flow of traffic into and out of the parking lot.
9. Don’t drop children off.
You should not drop off children across the street from their school. Children can get gravely injured or killed by trying to walk in front of vehicles that are entering and leaving the parking lot. If you are a driver, watch out for parents who do this, especially on major roads.
10. Don’t double-park.
If you leave your car parked in front of a building, you will block the visibility of pedestrians and drivers.
Back-to school traffic is CRAZY! The most important thing is don’t check your phone or text while driving!
Unfortunately, even if you are driving responsibly, you can still get hurt by a negligent driver. If you are in a traffic accident, injuries can result in costly medical bills. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake.
If this happens, you may create the need for a personal injury lawyer in Tampa. Call us for a free consultation if you’ve been involved in a car accident during this busy back-to-school season.