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With school starting soon, it is important to keep school bus safety in mind for both drivers and students. As a driver sharing the road with school buses, here are some important tips to ensure the safety of everyone:
- Stop for School Buses: When a school bus is stopped with its flashing red lights activated and the stop arm extended, you must come to a complete stop regardless of your direction of travel. This indicates that children are getting on or off the bus, and they may be crossing the road.
- Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the school bus. Buses make frequent stops, so maintaining distance allows you to have enough time to react if the bus stops suddenly.
- Obey Speed Limits: Pay attention to speed limit signs, especially in school zones and residential areas. Reduce your speed when driving near a school bus stop or school area.
- Stay Alert: Avoid distractions while driving, such as using your phone, eating, or adjusting the radio. Stay focused on the road and be prepared for unexpected actions from both the school bus and the children around it.
- Watch for Crossing Children: Be extra cautious near bus stops and school crossings. Children may not always follow traffic rules, so be prepared to yield and wait for them to safely cross the road.
- Pass with Caution: If you need to pass a school bus, do so with extreme caution. Check for the flashing lights and extended stop arm, and only proceed when it is safe and legal to do so.
- Be Patient: School buses make frequent stops, and it may take some time for children to board or disembark. Be patient and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
- Know the Laws: Familiarize yourself with the specific school bus laws and regulations in your area. Laws can vary from state to state, so it’s essential to understand the rules in your jurisdiction.
- Be Mindful of School Hours: Be extra cautious during school hours, especially during the morning and afternoon when buses are more active. Expect increased traffic and plan your route accordingly.
- Avoid School Bus “Danger Zones”: Be aware of the areas around the school bus known as “danger zones.” These are the areas immediately surrounding the bus where the driver’s view is limited, and children may not be easily visible. Exercise extra caution in these areas.
- Obey Bus Driver Signals: If the bus driver motions for you to stop or slow down, do so immediately. They may be signaling the presence of children crossing the road.
- Encourage Safe Behavior: If you have children or young passengers in your vehicle, teach them about school bus safety and encourage them to follow the rules when getting on or off a bus.
By following these safety tips and being aware of the presence of school buses, you can help ensure the safety of students as they travel to and from school. Remember, it’s everyone’s responsibility to prioritize safety on the road.