It’s early to talk about the kiddies going back to school but it’s less than a month away. Sharing the road safely with school buses is an important conversation. Transfering students off a bus and into the classroom seem simple enough but it’s a hazardous task.
Parents know when you have a cluster of kids together you’re close to all hell breaking loose at any given moment. Children are unpredictable, don’t always recognize hazards, sometimes like to take risks, and are easily distracted. Add to that road, cars, and just as distracted drivers – and we have a recipe for disaster.
Tips for Share the Road with School Buses
Every jurisdiction in Canada and the U.S has stiff penalties for passing a school bus when its lights are flashing and speeding in school zones. The penalties shouldn’t be the deterrent – children’s safety should be the motivation.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to share the road safely with school buses
Never pass a school bus when their red lights are flashing and arm is extended. This is, of course, a no brainer but people still do it. On roads with out a median divider, both directions are required to stop.
When you see a bus starting to slow down to stop where there is no traffic control slow down too. Don’t pass before they can get the arm out and their lights on. It’s not a race.
Stay at least 15 feet back. The 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for kids. Keep that area clear. We have a blind spot in front of our trucks so give a little more room so you don’t force kids to cross directly in front of the grill where you can’t see them.
Try to see every thing. Keep an eye on the kids getting off the bus. You should always know whats happening around your vehicle at all times.
Wait until the school bus retracts the arm, turns off its lights, and starts to move again before you start to move forward.
School buses stop at all rail road crossings.
Never speed through school zones. Even when school is out you’ll often find kids playing at the school yards. School zone speed limits are just that – a maximum limit. It’s a good idea to drive slower than the school zone speed limit as we need more time to stop and we have blind spots.
This maybe a personal pet peeve but, kids like doing the arm motion to get truck drivers to blow the air horn. Don’t. It’s illegal to blow the air horn in an urban environment and your horn should be saved for emergencies to avoid an incident. If the bus is moving and going down the road you’re going to confuse the bus driver by blowing your horn. Neither you or the bus is a novelty – you’re both responsible for safety.