Drivers always need to be cautious in school zones. However, now that the school year has started again, it’s particularly crucial not just to obey all posted signs and crossing guards, but to keep your eye out for kids who might run into the street unexpectedly.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about 100 children lose their lives every year in this country while walking to school or walking home after school. Another 25,000 are injured by drivers in school zones.

If your commute to or from work takes you through a school zone, particularly during a busy time, try to find an alternate route. This may save you time and frustration. It will also help reduce unnecessary traffic in these areas.

If you can’t avoid driving through a school zone or you need to drop off or pick up your child, allow yourself a little extra time. The following additional tips can you avoid what could be a catastrophic accident:

  • Never pass a school bus or any vehicle that’s stopped. Disembarking kids may run across the street without looking.
  • Watch out for kids and other pedestrians, even if they’re on the sidewalk. Be particularly careful around crosswalks, intersections and driveways.
  • Avoid distracted driving. This is wise at all times. However, in a school zone, your eyes need to be on the road and your surroundings. This isn’t the time to make or answer a phone call (even on a hands-free device) or open that breakfast burrito you just bought at a drive-thru.
  • Know your blind spots. Checking your mirrors before changing lanes or turning isn’t enough to guarantee that there’s not a pedestrian or bicyclist there. Turn your head to make sure the area you’re moving into is clear.

Even when a car is moving at a slow speed, a collision can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries to a child. If your child has suffered injuries in a crash, it’s essential to determine what your options are for holding the at-fault driver liable.