In this fast-paced world, safety often takes a backseat to other factors, but when it comes to school buses, prioritizing safety is non-negotiable.
There were 108 Americans killed in school bus accidents in 2021, according to the National Safety Council. To prevent these kinds of accidents, it is important for all drivers to be vigilant and take proactive steps to ensure the safety of students and pedestrians.
Stop for school buses loading or unloading
When you see a school bus with its flashing red lights and stop arm extended, you must come to a complete stop, regardless of whether you are approaching the bus from the front or rear. This rule applies to all types of roads, not just in school zones. Ignoring this safety measure puts children at risk and can result in hefty fines.
Maintain a safe following distance
Tailgating a school bus is not only dangerous but also illegal. Always maintain a safe following distance, giving yourself ample time to react properly in case the bus stops suddenly. Children may dart out unexpectedly, so a proper buffer is essential to avoid accidents.
Be mindful of school zones
School zones exist to protect students and ensure their safety. When you enter a school zone, adhere to the posted speed limit. Pay detailed attention to crosswalks, pedestrian crossings and school patrol officers. Speeding through school zones is not only irresponsible but also against the law.
Keep a watchful eye for crossing guards
Crossing guards play an important role in safely guiding children across busy intersections. Always obey their signals and directions, stopping when they raise their stop signs or signal for pedestrians to cross. This simple act can prevent accidents and protect children on their way to and from school who are walking in the same area.
Exercise caution at bus stops
When passing a bus stop, slow down and remain vigilant. Children waiting for the bus might not always pay attention to traffic. Avoid sudden lane changes or aggressive maneuvers near bus stops.
Beware of unexpected blind spots
School bus drivers have limited visibility, especially in their blind spots. Make sure you can see the bus driver in their side mirror since if you cannot, they likely cannot see you either. Exercise patience when passing a bus, and only do so when it is safe and legal.
Remember, this collective effort helps students feel safe in areas where they cannot see every vehicle around them. Taking an extra few moments to remember bus safety guidelines before traveling into a school zone can make a significant difference in protecting everyone during the school year.