Fall Months Bring Unique Traffic Safety Risks

With summer winding down and schools starting again, traffic on public roads and highways are going to be seeing different safety risks than they have over the previous few months. While there may no long be an influx of tourists and out-of-state drivers common during summer vacation, there are still unique dangers that everyone should be aware of when they set out on the open road.

At Ross Moore II, P.C., our legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of local victims who have suffered preventable injuries in auto accidents. Because we want local folks throughout Atlanta and the state of Georgia to have the information they need when making safety a priority behind the wheel, we have put together a list of unique risks that affect our roads during the fall season:

  • School is in session – Children returning to school, as well as colleges and universities, have a marked impact on traffic flow during the fall. With an increase in traffic early in the morning and late in the afternoon (when children start and end school), it becomes important to exercise extra caution, both for pedestrians and for increased vehicle presence. Be sure to note when you are approaching school zones, as you will need to reduce your speed and watch for children who may dart out into traffic. You can also brush up on Georgia school bus laws and what you should be doing when a school bus is nearby by visiting our previous blog.
  • Teen and novice drivers – With school in session, high school students and young adults attending local colleges or vocational programs may be transporting themselves to and from school with little experience. Be aware that newly licensed drivers face greater risks of being involved in accidents, largely due to their inexperience and increased likelihood of taking risks. If you have a new driver on your hands, make sure you speak with your child about always making safety a priority whenever they are behind the wheel. This means avoiding distractions, following the law when it comes to cell phone use and having teenage passengers in the vehicle, and always scanning surrounding prior to making a turn, changing lanes, or making any other driving maneuver.
  • Drowsy driving – Studies have confirmed that driving tired, even after missing only a few hours of sleep, can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. With more tired teens on the road in the early morning hours, and even tired parents who may have to wake up earlier to take their kids to school before work, the fall season can see an uptick in drowsy drivers and fatigue-related accidents. Make sure you and your children get enough sleep if they need to drive in the morning, and that it there are options for rides when drowsiness too greatly affects one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
  • Daylight savings – As the days begin to shorten, it bears reminding that our roadways will be darker for longer periods of time, particularly toward the end of the day and the evening commute. Make sure your vehicle’s headlights are on when dusk is approaching, and that they are in proper working order, and be vigilant of pedestrians and bicyclists when it gets dark. As a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist yourself, you can make yourself more visible my wearing bright and reflective clothing.
  • Weather – Warm and sunny days may be on their way out, with inclement weather conditions becoming more and more common. Whether it is rain, fog, frost, or even sun glare caused by shortened daylight hours during your commute, you want to be sure you know how to drive appropriately when there are poor weather conditions. Aside from using your headlights and knowing how to react in possible skids (turn your vehicle into the skid and pump the breaks), you will also want to slow your speed whenever weather conditions making driving difficult.

It is important to note that we are not yet out of the woods when it comes to summer and roadway risks. In fact, we are still at the tail end of what experts have deemed the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” a time when fatal auto accidents increase substantially. This period ends on Labor Day, a time when everyone should exercise extra caution behind the wheel, especially when it comes to driving sober or finding a safe ride after drinking.

While knowing these risks can prepare you for new risks as we enter autumn, even the most vigilant and conscientious motorists can suffer harm when others on the road are negligent. When they do, our legal team is readily available to help victims better understand their rights and how they may be able to pursue a personal injury claim for a preventable car accident. To discuss a potential case, contact us for a free consultation.

Georgia Laws About School Buses & School Bus Safety

Georgia has specific traffic rules for when drivers approach a school bus stopped on the side of the road. Specifically, if a school bus has flashing lights and/or its stop arm extended off the side of the vehicle, drivers need to pay extra attention to the road around them and may need to come to a complete stop until the bus moves again.

There are five scenarios described in Georgia’s school bus stop laws:

  • Two-lane street: Traffic on both sides of the road must stop completely.
  • Four-lane with no median: Traffic on both sides of the road and in all lanes must stop completely.
  • Multilane highway with median: Traffic behind the bus must stop completely.
  • Two-lane street with center lane for turning: Traffic in all directions and all lanes must stop completely.
  • Multilane road with center lane for turning: All traffic in all directions and all lanes must stop completely.

As the aforementioned list of rules note, all drivers must come to a total stop in nearly all scenarios. This is due to the fact that children stepping off a school bus may attempt to cross the street without warning. Failing to stop for a school bus when it is loading or unloading passengers, flashing its lights, or using its stop arm can slam a driver with a high fiscal penalty and misdemeanor charges.Has your child been injured while getting on or off a bus? Contact Ross Moore II, P.C. today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn about your options.

SAFETY HINTS FOR DRIVING NEAR A SCHOOL BUS

At some point, you are probably going to come across a school bus when driving around your hometown or city. To keep yourself and children that may be riding the bus safe, there are a few basic driving tips that you should know. Be sure to review them and share them with friends and family as you see fit.

When you see a school bus ahead on the road:

  • Check all your mirrors and blind spots for adjacent traffic.
  • See if the bus is flashing its lights.
  • Come to a complete stop when required by law – remember that flashing lights and/or use of the stop arm means you need to stop in most situations.
  • Do not move your vehicle until the bus begins moving again as well.
  • You may want to slow down to a safe speed if you do not need to come to a total stop.
  • Never pass a stopped school bus on the right side, no matter what lights or stop arms are being used or not being used.

If you have children, share with them these easy-to-remember safety tips:

  • Until you are ready to board the bus, you should stay “three big steps” away from the bus – or 6 feet if your child understands empirical measurements.
  • Do not enter a bus until it has completely stopped and the bus driver allows you to enter – don’t be afraid to ask them if it is safe to board the bus.
  • Before stepping on or off a bus, look both ways out the door to make certain no cars are approaching.
  • When you step off a bus, move away from it – “three big steps” – as soon as it is safe.
  • Do not stay near a bus, even when it is not moving. If you need to walk behind the bus or pick up something next to it, talk to the bus driver first for permission.

At Ross Moore II, P.C., we want everyone to be safe in our communities, but sometimes negligent parties cause accidents. If your child was hurt by a driver while boarding or stepping off a bus, contact our attorney. We offer free case evaluations to prospective clients.