School zones are meant to increase safety for the children who walk or bike to and from the school every day. If even just one driver doesn’t pay attention to the reduced speed limit, the crosswalk or the children running around, the results can be catastrophic. The following are three things you can do to help keep a school zone a safe place the next time you’re behind the wheel, as a personal injury lawyer can explain.

1. Keep on the Lookout

There’s a possibility you have driven through a school zone without realizing there was a reduced speed limit or a crosswalk to stop at. The next time you’re behind the wheel, be on the lookout for school zones. Keep a mental note where they are located so you can be sure to follow the guidelines the next time you drive through. You’ll typically see markings on the pavement, crosswalk barricades and signs indicating the area is a school zone, so they’ll be hard to miss if you’re looking for them.

2. Slow Down

Perhaps the most important thing you can do when nearing a school zone is slowing down. Because there is an increase in the number of children that will be walking, biking or otherwise in the area, a decrease in speed can also mean a decrease in injuries. At a slower speed, it will be easier for you to stop quickly if a child darts out in front of your car. Also, if you travel at a slower speed, it will be harder for other cars to speed, resulting in more drivers who will pay attention and slow down.

3. Stop When Appropriate

You should always stop at a crosswalk in a school zone. If you don’t immediately see any children, and if the school zone lights are on, you should stop, look and only proceed if there are no children in or around the crosswalk. You should also stop for school buses with lights on and an extended stop sign. Even if there are no children actively getting on or off the bus, you don’t know if a child is about to run around from behind or if they are taking their time with a child who has special needs.

You should also be prepared to stop at a random point. There are some kids who will run out into the road without looking, and if you’re in a school zone, you’ll be prepared to stop no matter where you’re at.

Getting Help

School zones should be safe areas for every child. If you or a loved one was injured in a school zone accident, contact a personal injury lawyer today.