Editor’s note,this blog was originally posted in August 2015 but it has been updated to reflect current, valid information
Kids, the school bus and you
The new school year is right around the corner. That means busy days for parents and kids, an increase in morning traffic, and school buses and school crossings. It’s time for all of us to make sure we’re paying attention to our surroundings while driving.
For 23 million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. The greatest risk is not riding the bus, but approaching or leaving the bus. Before children go back to school or start school for the first time, it is essential that adults and children know traffic safety rules.
- When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or bicycling to school.
- As an extra precaution – honk your horn.
- When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.
- Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
- Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
Remember to obey the school bus laws:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off the bus. Motorists MUST stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
To keep our children safe – they should;
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (or 6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says it’s ok before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus make sure you are five giant steps (or 10 feet) in front of the bus before you cross. Make sure you can see the bus driver and that he can see you.
- Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus make sure your belongings like coats and backpacks don’t get caught in handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus. If you have to cross the street, do it while the bus is stopped and has lights flashing.
- Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
- If you drop something near or under the bus, tell the driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
Teach children to follow these rules to make school bus transportation safer. Follow these rules and let your children see you following the rules. Let’s do our part to help keep our children safe during the trip to and from school.