The school year starts today Miami-Dade County, and that means around 375,000 children and teenagers will be walking, biking, or driving to school during Miami’s notorious rush hour. According to the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians account for a startling 40% of traffic deaths in Miami-Dade each year. Most of these tragedies can be prevented with proper education and improved driver awareness following these safety tips.
Miami commuters are often tempted to race through school zones to avoid traffic congestion or being late to work. This, coupled with a rise in cell phone use and other distractions, affects student safety adversely. Two seconds of distraction can be the difference between a normal day and changing someone’s life forever.
Follow these driving tips to keep Miami’s school children safe:
- Do not assume anything: children may not understand how difficult it can be to stop a moving vehicle quickly and can run across the street in front of cars at any moment. Be prepared.
- Be aware of your surroundings: It’s easier to anticipate what will happen next if you observe where kids and parents are around you.
- Obey all traffic laws: safe school speed limits range between 15 to 25 miles per hour. Travel more slowly if children are exiting school busses or on their way to or from school.
- Don’t get distracted: Put down the coffee, stop texting on your cell phone, and keep both hands on the wheel to maintain proper distance between cars and improve driver reaction time. This is even more important during the rainy season.
- Obey the crossing guards at all times: many are volunteers or parents, but they are there to smooth the process.
Automobile accidents will happen despite everyone’s best efforts. If you are involved in an auto accident in Miami, make sure to report it to law enforcement immediately to obtain an official crash report. Serious car accidents may involve deep injuries, long-term disability, or even death. Do not negotiate a payment agreement to settle damages at the scene; doing it on your own without an official crash report may expose you to personal liability. It is important to secure legal representation to preserve your rights and your peace of mind.
Florida Department of Motor Safety and Highway Vehicles, “Vehicle Insurance Questions and Answers – Involved in a Crash,”
Florida DMV Online Guide, “Florida Schools”
Miami-Dade Metro Planning Organization, “Bicycle Pedestrian Program”