Safety Tips for College Students Driving on Campus
Once a teen graduates from high school, they have a whole new world of opportunities in front of them. It’s time to take those first steps toward living like an adult and for many people, that means going off to college where they’ll start working toward a career and live away from their parents for the first time. And along with that, they may have also recently gotten their first car so that they can drive themselves to and from home and get around on campus.
But having a car on campus can come with a lot of challenges and not just in terms of how hard it can be to get one of those coveted parking spots near your classes. Here are some important safety risks to keep in mind while driving on campus.
Pedestrians and Cyclists
The streets in and surrounding college campuses are routinely full of pedestrians and bicyclists, particularly during the main times when classes are in session. And don’t forget about extra foot traffic that can come with campus events, such as big sporting events. Because of this, it’s extremely important to always be keeping an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists and to be mindful of your speed. Even if classes are over for the day, it’s still crucial to always be watching for them. Many people who live on or near campus don’t have cars and are likely to be out walking or riding their bikes at all times of day.
Between all those pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers, there can be a lot of traffic to deal with around campus. If you’ll be driving during a time when on-campus activity is at its peak, make sure you have plenty of time to reach your destination. When people start getting worried about being late, they tend to be more prone to dangerous driving behaviors like speeding.
Going away to school can be exciting, but it can also be difficult to get used to life in a new city. Be sure to take some time to explore your new surroundings so that you get more familiar with where things are. When drivers aren’t exactly sure of where a location is, the more likely they are to do things like stop suddenly or be distracted while driving, which can lead to a car crash.
On a similar note, it’s important to remember that many people driving on or near a college campus may also be unfamiliar with the area. So even if you know your way around, it’s important to keep an eye out for other people who could do something like stop unexpectedly or be distracted by their GPS system.
Loaning Out Your Car
Since it’s very common for students living on or near campus to not have a car, sometimes by choice, sometimes because of campus rules, having a car can mean getting lots of requests from friends for rides. Or, sometimes, a friend may even want to borrow your car to run an errand. As tempting as it can be to hand the keys over to a friend, it’s best to avoid letting others borrow your car. If you really want to help, offer to drive yourself, but don’t let others borrow the car. Remember that a lot of college-age students are going to be relatively new drivers and you don’t want to end up with increased insurance rates because of someone else damaging your car.
Last, but certainly not least, impaired drivers can be a big problem around college campuses. Between parties going on in the area around campus and people just trying to relax on their downtime, there’s a good chance that people could be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Remember, just because recreational marijuana has been legalized in the state of Michigan, driving under the influence of marijuana is still very much illegal. Anything that makes you feel different, including prescription medication, can potentially impact a person’s ability to safely drive a car.
If you’ll be heading out to a party, to a bar near campus, or are just planning to have some fun with a couple of friends in one of their dorm rooms/apartments, be sure to plan ahead for a safe way home. Put the Uber/Lyft app on your phone, add a local taxi company to the contacts on your phone, or arrange for a designated driver.
Auto Insurance for College Students
Before heading off to college, it’s a good idea to go over your auto insurance policy to make sure you have a good amount of coverage. This is particularly important if you’ll be attending college in a different state. The last thing you want is to get into a car accident, only to realize that you don’t have the coverage you thought you did. If you have any questions about your coverage, be sure to contact your insurance agent.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents can be very upsetting events, and when injuries are involved, they can potentially be life altering. It’s very important to make sure you contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible so that you can get someone on your side who knows the law and can help protect your best interests. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer who is highly experienced in helping the victims of Michigan car accidents. Contact us today to get answers to your questions and find out how we can help.
Image: iStock / kate_sept2004