It’s back-to-school time for children in Chicago and across Illinois. But, this fall, back to school is different than ever before. Due to the pandemic, most schools will remain closed, and “distance learning” will be the standard for most school-aged children. Students of grammar school, high school, and even college age will be learning online at their homes.
As a result, school zones and traffic patterns are changing. Students and young learners will be in their neighborhoods and frequently outside – similar to their behavior during this past summer. Throughout the day, there will be more bike riders, more activities on the basketball courts, and soccer fields, and more youngsters on the sidewalks staring at their iPhones and hanging out. Kids will be doing what kids do. Paying little attention to cars, traffic, and adults.
Adapting to these changes, and keeping our students safe throughout the day is the responsibility of us all. Making adapting even more difficult is the added distraction of children wearing masks. It’s never been more important for drivers to slow down and pay closer attention to their driving.
As an attorney, every day I am personally involved in fighting for those who are injured as a result of the negligence of others. And, as a father, keeping children in my neighborhood safe is a top priority. As an accident attorney, I’ve represented too many injured children. Injuries that are severe, emotionally and psychologically draining, life-changing, and sometimes, even fatal. It’s heartbreaking.
Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians
Based upon my experience, below are some common-sense steps adult drivers can take this unique school year to keep children safer and limit tragedies.
- Slow Down: Reduce speed near playgrounds, parks, and parking lots where youngsters may pass a soccer ball or football.
- Be Extra Alert: Small children are especially unpredictable and hard to see between cars or when darting out from trees and bushes.
- Check Twice: Even if your vehicle has a back-up camera, always check behind and around when backing out of a driveway.
- Leave Space: Don’t block crosswalks when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn. Blocking crosswalks forces pedestrians to go around your vehicle and outside the safety of the crosswalk.
- Expect the Unexpected: Children may cross the street in the middle of the block without looking, or run out as they’re playing.
- Reduce Distractions: Put down that coffee cup, cellphone, and water bottle.
Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
Children and teens riding bikes create special problems for drivers because they often don’t properly evaluate traffic conditions and traffic flow. In addition, wearing masks is a new practice for bike riders and may distract them. Common-sense steps I encourage you to practice are:
- When passing a bicyclist going in the same direction, drive slowly and leave at least three feet between you and them.
- When preparing to turn left while a biker is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
- When turning right and a biker is approaching from behind, wait for the rider to pass.
- Be extra vigilant for bikers coming from driveways or between parked cars.
By exercising extra care and caution drivers, children, and parents can safely co-exist for a successful school year.
Chicago Child Accident Attorneys: We Help Victims
If your child is injured in an accident, you are entitled to compensation for their injuries. The Attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner are knowledgeable and expert in representing those harmed by the negligence or carelessness of others.
We know your rights and the applicable laws. We are your advocates. Big insurance companies rely on professional adjusters to negotiate. In order to deal with these professionals, you need a highly trained, skilled attorney to protect your rights. We are experts at negotiating with powerful insurance companies. 50 years of experience counts.
The Attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering compensation for you – while you, your child, and your family concentrate on physical and emotional recovery.