It’s that time of year again when you wonder where the summer has gone. Cooler temperatures linger longer in the morning and set in earlier at night; and the excitement of going back-to-school is in the air. Even if you’re only watching the school activities from your front porch or from your car, back-to-school days affect you in some way.
Most people who aren’t shuttling kids back and forth to school still must deal with increased traffic in the form of buses, bicycles and pedestrians. Drivers need to take extra care when they are driving near schools and among buses on the roads.
Remember to be more mindful while driving during this time, especially during the first few weeks after school starts, as bus drivers are learning new bus routes and traffic patterns; young, teenage drivers are venturing out on their first drives to schools; and plenty of kids are walking and biking to school on busy roads.
Dropping Off Kids at School
Almost every school has specific written policies about dropping off and picking up kids at school. Become familiar with these rules and understand that for all children to be safe, every parent needs to follow the rules. Never compromise your child’s or any other child’s safety simply because you are running late.
Keep the following in mind:
- Don’t double park; you are blocking someone’s view, potentially creating a safety hazard for children crossing the road.
- Make sure you receive, study and understand the route your school has designed for parents transporting kids by car.
- Give buses the right of way on school grounds.
Driving With School Buses on the Road
Admittedly, this time of year can be frustrating for drivers when back-to-school vehicles significantly increase traffic on city streets and highways. Allow a bit of extra time for your commute so that everyone’s kids can get to their destinations safely. Adjusting to slower-moving school buses can make a huge difference in preventing vehicle and pedestrian accidents.
Here are some tips for navigating buses on the road:
- Allow a greater distance between your car and the school bus so you can stop when the bus flashes its lights.
- Be aware that it is illegal in all 50 states to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children.
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the bus driver extended the stop-arm, you must stop and wait for the children to load or unload.
Increase Your Level of Alertness With Buses and Kids on the Road
It is important for adults to be alert and watch out for children and young adults on the roads. Children do not have the same perspective as experienced, adult drivers and are not mature enough to appreciate and anticipate the potential dangers surrounding them. Children are preoccupied and unpredictable; it is often up to vehicle drivers to avoid accidents and tragedy by driving defensively and slowly near schools and buses.
Most bus drivers are thoroughly vetted and have years of experience driving. They take their jobs seriously and strive to ensure that your kids and everyone else’s kids arrive safely. By driving safely during busy back-to-school days, you help ensure that buses, pedestrians and cyclists reach their destinations. If you should experience an accident with a bus accident or on school property, be sure to speak with an experienced injury lawyer.