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Slow Down and Look Around: Back to School Safety Reminders


All of the students in McAlester will be heading back to school soon, which means that the more relaxed pace of summer mornings on the roads will be replaced with frazzled parents rushing once again to get kids to school and themselves to work on time. As everyone switches from the easy, summertime mode to an increased number of vehicles on local streets, the opportunity for vehicle collisions also increases.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2004 and 2013 there were 327 school-aged children killed in school transportation-related traffic crashes. There were more school-age pedestrians killed between the hours of 7 and 8am and between 3 and 4pm than any other hours of the day.

We wanted to share some basic reminders of things you already know, but must really keep in mind in order to help prevent needless traffic crashes during the back-to-school transition.

  • Slow down

Regardless of how much of a hurry you think you are in, obey the speed limit. When you approach a school zone, slow down. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the higher the chances that a crash will result in death.

  • Be on the lookout for small pedestrians

Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Whether you are on a local street or in a school zone, near a playground or the neighborhood market, keep an eye out for children crossing the street. Be careful not to block the crosswalk when you stop at a red light because this will force pedestrians to walk around your car placing them in the path of oncoming traffic.

  • School bus safety

In Oklahoma, a driver can have their license revoked for one year if they fail to stop when children are getting off of a school bus. There is also a minimum fine of $100. and four points. When you see a school bus stopped with its stop sign out and the loading signals are flashing, this indicates that children are either getting on or getting off of the bus. If you fail to stop and wait until the driver has raised the stop sign and turned off the lights, then you can face serious legal consequences.

In order to legally pass a school bus in Oklahoma you must be traveling in the opposite direction from the bus on a street that has a barrier or median between your lane of travel and the one the bus is using.

  • Keep an eye out for bicyclists

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the most common cause of bicycle crashes is when a motorist turns left in the path of a bicyclist. Leave plenty of space between your car and a bicyclist when passing them on the roadway. Watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians when you are making a left turn. If you are making a right turn and you see a bicyclist approaching, let the bicyclist go through the intersection first and be sure to use your turn signal. Always check your side mirrors for bicyclists before opening your door.

  • Teach and demonstrate safe driving behavior for teen drivers

If you have teen drivers in your household it is your responsibility to make sure that they develop safe driving habits. Talk to your teen driver about the importance of obeying traffic laws and driving in a safe manner. Set a good example by being a safe driver yourself.

  • Put down the cell phone and other distractions

Distracted driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving. You can do your part by placing your phone in drive mode in a bag, out of reach when you are behind the wheel.

Of course, we know all of these things, but it is good to remind ourselves that each of us has a role to play in traffic safety and in making sure that our smallest citizens are able to get to and from school safely and happily every day.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you may have questions about your legal options. The experienced McAlester auto accident attorneys at the Stipe Law Firm are here to guide you through the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries. Call (918) 505-7741 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation with the Oklahoma auto accident lawyers you know and trust.