Kids, the School Bus, and You! (Yes YOU!)

With summer coming to an end and school bells ringing in another school year, it is important for parents and drivers to remember to do their part to keep kids safe as they travel to and from school.

School Zone Safety

Riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school (Yes, it’s even safer than you taking them yourself!). However, the greatest risk is not riding the school bus –but rather the threat of being struck by a bus or motorist while approaching or leaving it.

Therefore children need to be especially careful around the school bus “danger zone,” (the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus) and motorists need to be on a vigilant lookout for child pedestrians – and be extra cautious around school buses.

Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Passing a school bus is a MAJOR offense that carries the same consequences as a DUI

For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:

  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be alert. Eliminate your distractions. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Take extra precautions in school zones and neighborhood areas where children and teenagers might be walking or riding a bicycle.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they take proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to share with your children to ensure their safety when traveling to and from school.
  • Whether you’re getting on or off the bus, stay 10 feet ahead of the bus when crossing the street in front if it, and NEVER walk behind the bus
  • Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first because the driver may not be able to see you.
Most young children who are hit by motor vehicles are injured near their home or on neighborhood streets in broad daylight. One third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur during the after school hours, between 3 and 7 pm.Teach your child these tips to increase their safety while walking:
  • Always look left-right-left before crossing the street and never run or dart out from in-between parked cars. The driver will not be able to see you.
  • Be sure to keep on the lookout for cars as you cross, they can approach very quickly!
  • Never run out into streets or cross in between parked cars.
  • Use a cross-walk if you can –otherwise be sure to only cross the street at corners.
  • Keep on the sidewalk –if there’s no sidewalk then be sure to face traffic as you walk.

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

Related articles:

Sources:
1.  Curb Back-to-School Tragedies with AAA’s Tips

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

U Think Ur Good @ Texting & Driving? Ur Not. U Suck @ it!

I’m not going to lie & say I’ve never done it — ashamedly, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done it — but once is already WAY too many times.

Alexander Heit's last text

A grim reminder of the harsh consequences of texting while driving.

I’ve declared myself to be one selfish SOB. Not just selfish, but also very lucky — there is NO reason whatsoever why I shouldn’t be a statistic labeled in news headline as that selfish bastard who just could not wait until I wasn’t driving to read a text. I cringe to even admit that I’m guilty of responding to a few as well.I’ve been luckier than any lottery winner in history: I’ve performed these selfish actions without murdering anyone, or having caused irreversible damage to anyone — or myself for that matter.

But that’s ALL it was — Luck — nothing more

Having put the lives of others in danger unnecessarily makes me ashamed: I’m ashamed as a human being, as an insurance professional and as an passionate safety advocate. I’ve been a freaking hypocrite — and if you know me at all you know that I LOATHE hypocrites, just about as much as I hate admitting that I am one. I am now passionate about putting that damned cell phone down.  For crapsake, I live in Lafayette, it’s not like I have far to drive —what the hell is so damned important that I’ve felt couldn’t wait for 15 freaking minutes?!?To my friends and family — go ahead and call me a nerd — I really could care less. But I do care about your safety and mine, which is why I’m BEGGING you to do the same. Up to this point you have only been sharing the same teeny tiny pot of luck I’ve been scraping out of — and trust me — it’s running on “E”.

To think that you have mastered the skill of texting and driving is the most pathetic mind trick.
Trust me: You REALLY suck at it.

It’s time to PUT THE PHONE DOWN! It’s that one text that can change everything. Hindsight is always 20/20 — so have some foresight and think about it. Do you think you could drive the length of a football field blindfolded without incident? Well if that’s something that you think you’d be uncomfortable with know that is EXACTLY what you are doing when you take your eyes off the road to read or send a text.  

If you want to roll your eyes & think “Well there goes Melissa again on one of her crazed nerdy save the world tangents” just know: When your luck runs out, I’ll come hold your hand in jail & pray for you & with you, but I also promise to leave you there…unless of course it is me or one of my family members, in which case I’m sorry, but that offer is off the table.

Related articles:

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 

Photo courtesy of  Greeley, Colorado Police Department

Buckle Up: Every Ride. Every Time. Every Age.

Did you know that 1 in 4 parents admit to not buckling up their kids?!?

What’s even more mind-blowing is that parents who have graduate degrees are TWICE as likely to say that it is acceptable to driving without buckling up their children!

SafeKids USA Buckle UP

Infographic courtesy of SafeKids.org

Based on these findings, Safe Kids offers these three strategies for parents to keep their kids safe while riding in cars:

  1. Buckle up kids on every ride, every time.
  2. Talk to other parents who are driving your kids about the importance of buckling up.
  3. Check that the right child safety seat is being used and that it’s installed properly.

Four-Leaf Clovers Don’t Save Lives: Sober Drivers Do

clover cuffsThis Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day – and you know what that means:green clothing, green decorations and even green beer. But if you’re going to have a glass of that festive brew, be sure to hand over your keys first – because luck won’t keep you out of a jam on St. Patrick’s Day.

 
St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family.  Unfortunately, it has also become a very dangerous night due to the large volume of drunk drivers.

In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – that’s one every 51 minutes!!1  That is 10,000 too many! 80% deaths on St. Patty’s Day involved drunk drivers who were nearly twice the legal limit!2

If you decide to imbibe and opt to enjoy an Irish Car Bomb, don’t rely on the Luck of the Irish to get you home – opt to get a Designated O’Driver!

Irish eyes smile upon the designated sober driver:

Designate a Sober Driver

Don’t bet on your Irish Luck this St. Patrick’s Day – or this could be you!

Finding a designated driver on St. Patrick’s Day isn’t Luck. It’s Smart!!

Sources:
1. Imparired Driving on St. Patrick’s Day | NHTSA
2. St. Patrick’s Day Safe Driving Campaign