Most kids are going back to school in person this fall. This fact also means that school buses are running their regular routes and plenty of kids are standing at bus stops or making the trek to school on foot or by bicycle. It’s easy to avoid car accidents in back-to-school season if you stay alert and focused. Here are reminders to help keep you and kids safe all year long.
Know the School Bus Signs
School buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles – but a moving school bus and a stopped bus are two different things. It’s up to motorists to pay attention and keep kids safe from a pedestrian accident.
- Obey the stop arm: That little red arm with a stop sign on it that emerges from the side of a bus is very real. You must obey it like any other traffic signal, stop, and do not pass the bus.
- Observe yellow flashing lights: Yellow flashing lights on a school bus indicate that motorists should slow down because the bus is preparing to stop to pick up children or let them off.
- Stop for red flashing lights: You should stop and wait at least 20 feet behind the school bus when the red flashing lights are on. This indicates that kids are getting on or off the bus.
- Wait for the bus: You may not see any kids around anymore. They may be safely on the bus. But you are not allowed to pass the bus or begin moving until the red lights stop flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins to move.
Make Personal Edits for Safety
If you don’t want to get caught behind a school bus or anywhere in its wake, it may be time to alter your routine to avoid school buses entirely. You can look on your area school’s website for scheduling information to figure out when the bus will be in your neighborhood.
- Avoid the busing hour in the early morning or mid-afternoon.
- Adjust your commute to an hour earlier or later to avoid school arrivals, dismissals, and the impatience that can develop when you get stuck behind a full and operating school bus.
- Be a defensive driver and be alert, keeping an eye out for pedestrians, school zone signs, and in neighborhoods.
- Come to complete stops and look in all directions for small pedestrians.
Teach Your Kids to Stay Safe
Remind your kids to behave properly at the bus stop, especially if you won’t be waiting there with them:
- Arrive at least five minutes early so no one is rushing and running across the street without looking just to catch the bus.
- Stay away from the curb and always wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before moving closer to the bus and boarding.
- Look left-right-left for cars before crossing a street – motorists should be following the law, but they won’t always be paying attention with distracted driving such a hazard.
Help your kids take care of their own safety too and know that they can’t depend on every motorist to be conscientious and safe. If you or your child are involved in a car accident or pedestrian accident, contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to discuss your case.