Now that school is back in session, millions of school children are taking the bus to and from school. Did you know that when children get on and off the bus or waiting for the bus they’re at more risk than when riding? Do your part to keep children safe around school buses. Here’s a guide to stopping for school bus.
Understand the School Bus Signals
It’s probably been a long time since you reviewed your driver’s handbook. Here’s a refresher on the signals school buses use and what they mean for drivers:
Yellow Flashing Lights
This means the bus is getting ready to stop to drop off or pick up kids. You should slow down in preparation for an upcoming bus stop. Do not try to pass just so you don’t have to wait!
Red Flashing Lights
The school bus is stopped and waiting for a child to embark or disembark. Stop your vehicle at least 20 feet behind the bus. When the extended arm starts retracting, you’ll know it’s almost time to drive again. Do not try to get around the bus. Often kids will try to cross the street as soon as they get off the bus.
Be Cautious at Bus Stops
When you’re driving and you see a bus stop with children waiting, slow down. Kids are often energetic and may do unexpected things like step into the roadway suddenly. They may drop something into the roadway and rush in to pick it up. Slow down and proceed with caution.
Wait For Kids to Cross
After a school bus drops off a child, don’t immediately start driving. Often the bus is so big that it keeps you from seeing if they dropped off or picked up a child. Let the bus move ahead and don’t proceed until you can visually tell if there’s a child waiting to cross the road. If you’re not the first car behind the bus, do not try to pass the car in front of you if they haven’t started moving yet. They may be waiting and allowing a child to cross the street. Finally, take a look across the street. If there is a parent waiting, the chances are the child will be focused on their parent and not the traffic. Take every precaution to ensure you don’t start driving forward when a child is trying to cross to get to their parent.
The challenge is that school buses are on the roads at the same time as drivers who are eager to get to work or get home from a shift. Exercise patience and caution to help prevent accidents. For help with an accident that already occurred, contact a South Carolina attorney specializing in personal injury cases.