As summer comes to a close and the leaves begin to turn, children across the country are packing up their backpacks and returning to school. And with the beginning of the fall semester, you may start to see that old familiar vehicle — the school bus. Here are some tips for drivers who share the roads with school buses, as well as some easy lessons to teach your kids about bus stop safety.
Driving near buses
Follow these tips to help protect the children when you drive.
• Keep an especially close eye on students as they’re getting on and off the bus. The most dangerous part of the trip, for kids, is getting on and off the bus.
• Be alert and slow down if you’re near a bus.
• Do not pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload students. All states have laws that tell you under what circumstances you can and cannot pass a stopped school bus. Most buses actually have stop signs that display when children are getting on and off the bus. In general, it does not begin to move after until the bus’ red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins to move.
• Know and understand traffic laws and speed limits near a school bus and schools. Oftentimes, the laws change during school hours.
Teach your children
Help take the danger out of the trip to and from school by instructing children about school bus stop safety. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends children should:
• Wait away from the roadway and board only when the bus has come to a complete stop.
• When crossing in front of the bus, walk at least 10 steps away from the bus so the driver can see them.
• Never walk behind the bus. Drivers might lose sight of kids in their blind spots.
• Also, stress the importance of arriving at the bus stop 5 to 10 minutes early each day. Running for the bus could increase the risk of an accident or injury
On the bus
• Always follow the rules and listen to the driver.
• Find a seat and sit don’t stand up until the bus has stopped.
• Keep voices and other noises low to avoid distracting the driver.
• Never put arms, head, hands or belongings out the window.
• Keep feet, backpacks and other items out of the aisles in case of an emergency.
Information provided by Matt Cale, State Farm Insurance, 6733 University Ave., Windsor Heights, 280-9000.