School’s Back; Unique Hazards Presented

Children are most in danger of being hit 10 feet around a school bus.

After the hustle and bustle of the last days of summer and school openings, sharing the road with children will be a common occurrence. While professional drivers are among the most careful drivers on the road, the National Safety Council (NSC) offers an extensive recap of things to remember when driving near kids and school buses, including:

  • All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signal that children are getting on or off the bus.
  • All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus. State laws on divided highways vary, but all states require that traffic traveling in the same direction as
    the bus must stop.
  • Children are most in danger of being hit 10 feet around a school bus; give them space to safely enter and exit.
  • A problem everywhere these days and increasingly in school zones, is distracted walking – especially pedestrians speaking or texting on a cell phone and not paying attention to the traffic around them.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right; it is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
  • Students that drive to school are very often novice drivers who might drive inappropriately when entering and exiting school lots. They frequently have friends in the car with them and are very easily distracted.

Always Stop For Pedestrians

  • Do not block a crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn; if they have to walk around your vehicle it puts puts pedestrians in a dangerous situation.
  • In school zones with blinking warning flashers, you must stop and yield to pedestrians whether there is a marked crosswalk or not.
  • Stop when directed to do so by a patrol officer or crossing guard.
  • Children can be difficult to see. When children are present, there are probably more of them in the area.
  • Avoid honking the horn or revving your engine when pedestrians are in front of your vehicle in a crosswalk.

Beware of Children On Bicycles

  • When passing a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction, do so slowly and leave at least a distance of three feet between you and the bicyclist. If you don’t have sufficient room, don’t pass until you do. Maintain your clearance until you have safely passed the bicycle.
  • The most common causes of collisions with bicycles are when drivers are turning left in front of an oncoming bicycle, or turning right across the path of the bicycle. In all situations, always use your turn signals.
  • If a cyclist enters an intersection when you are turning left, wait for him or her to pass before making the turn.
  • If you are turning right and a cyclist approaches your vehicle on the right, let the cyclist go through the intersection first.
  • Always slow down in school zones and neighborhood areas where children and teenagers might be riding.
  • Watch out for bikes coming out of driveways or from behind parked cars or other obstructions.