Summer is coming to a close for New York students. Back to school time means more cars on the road, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and school buses. Parents of younger students are in a rush trying to get their children off to school. It’s not uncommon to find students jaywalking and running across busy streets to get to class on time. A combination of these elements often leads to serious car accidents..

With so much commotion on Westchester roadways, it’s important that college students and other young drivers drive safely.  Thirteen percent of students walk or bike to class, which means that drivers need to be extra cautious before and after school. Here are some tips for motorists to avoid crashes during this busy time of year.

1. Watch Where You Stop

When stopping at an intersection, stop behind the crosswalk. When you block it, pedestrians are forced to go around you. This puts them in the path of other vehicles, which can cause an accident.

2. Slow Down

Speed limits near schools are 25 mph for a reason. If you travel just 10 mph faster and end up hitting a pedestrian, that person is more than 60 percent more likely to die. Take your time and drive slowly.

3. Avoid Passing Other Vehicles

Vehicles are often stopped for pedestrians, and buses stop often to pick up students. If you try to go around these vehicles, you could end up hitting someone. In fact, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is loading or unloading kids.

4. Don’t Scare Pedestrians

Motorists should always yield to pedestrians, so don’t honk your horn or rev up your car engine to scare them. Be patient and let them cross, even if it’s an inconvenience.

5. Stay Alert

Pedestrians can behave erratically. Distractions can greatly increase your risk of being involved in an accident. All it takes is a few seconds for a crash to occur. Put away the cell phone, makeup, food, maps and other distractions and focus on the task of driving.

6. Share the Road With Bicyclists

Bicyclists have the same rights as motorists. Even though they travel more slowly, do not run them off the road. Be respectful and share the road with them. Bicycles are smaller and much harder to see than cars, so use your side mirrors often. Before making a left or right turn, look for bicyclists and allow them to cross the intersection before turning.

7. Be Cautious When Backing Up

It can hard to see behind you, and pedestrians aren’t always watching where they are going.  Don’t be in a hurry when backing up. Go in reverse slowly, checking all around your vehicle as you do so.

8. Work with an Experienced Westchester Car Accident Lawyer

Car accidents are all too common in busy metropolitan areas such as New York City.  Safe driving in congested areas is extremely important to keep motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians safe. If your child was injured while on the way to school, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. File a personal injury claim with a Westchester car accident attorney from Grant & Longworth today. Contact our office at (800) 836-3519 24/7 to schedule a consultation.