Pickups and Dropoffs: Back to School Driving Safety Tips

Pickups and Dropoffs: Back to School Driving Safety Tips

by / Monday, 12 September 2022 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents, Tips
A chalkboard with 'Back to School' written on it.

School is back in session and for many parents, dropping their kids off at school and picking them up is part of their daily routine. Not everybody is able to take a bus to school and walking isn’t always an ideal option, either. Sometimes, the walk would be too far, children would have to cross busy roads, or the child is too young to walk by themselves. But navigating school pickups and dropoffs can be a challenge. 

First and foremost, a key to making school pickups and dropoffs as safe as possible is to understand what the law says about driving speed in school zones. 

Michigan Law & School Zones

Traffic laws regarding school zones in the state of Michigan are outlined under section 257.627(a) of the Michigan Vehicle Code. This defines a school zone as being the property where a school building is located and the adjacent property, extending up to 1,000 feet from the property line in any direction. If two or more schools occupy the same property or adjacent properties, a single school zone exists if the schools have the same hours of instruction and overlapping school zones exist if hours of instruction are different. 

Generally, school zone traffic rules apply up to 30 minutes before classes begin in the morning and up to 30 minutes after classes end in the afternoon. When school zones are in effect, the speed limit can be reduced up to 20 MPH lower than the posted speed limit, but cannot be reduced to less than 25 MPH. School zone speed limits laws do not apply to limited access highways or sections of highway that have an overhead pedestrian walkway that is adjacent to school property. 

If a driver violates school zone speed limit requirements, it is considered a civil infraction. If a driver is caught speeding in a school zone, fines are doubled from what they would be for speeding in other areas. Speeding in a school zone can also result in points on your license.

School Pickup & Dropoff Safety Tips

In addition to following the speed limit in school zones, there are many other things drivers can do to stay safe.

Stay Focused

Traffic around schools can be very hectic, so it’s extremely important for drivers to be focused on their surroundings. This means not being distracted by things like cell phones, not letting your mind wander, not getting lost in conversations with passengers in the car, and not eating breakfast in the car. Not only do you need to be keeping an eye on other drivers, there may also be pedestrians or cyclists nearby. 

Don’t Double Park

As tempting as it may be to double park, doing so limits the visibility of other drivers and pedestrians and prevents other drivers from being able to move their cars as needed. 

Follow Directions

Very often, schools have signs posted directing the flow of traffic, such as one-way traffic signs. You may also see crossing guards near the school or other people directing traffic during pickup and dropoff times. It’s extremely important to follow all posted rules and directions from anyone else who may be directing traffic near the school to make sure everyone safely gets where they need to be.

Be Patient

As frustrating as it can be if it takes longer than expected to handle the day’s school pickup or dropoff, it’s important to try and stay patient. Don’t try to go around other vehicles, cut the line, or have your child get out of the car earlier than they’re supposed to. When children are getting in or out of cars outside of designated areas, there’s a risk of them getting hurt. 

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

If you or your child is injured in a traffic accident on their way to or from school, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. It’s important to make sure you get answers to any questions you have about your case and understand your legal rights. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer experienced in helping the victims of car accidents in the state of Michigan. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Image: Oleksandr Pidvalny / Pexels

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