School Is in Session: Drive Carefully!

The end of August means back to school in many parts of
the country. It also means an increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic in many areas. Twenty-three million students in the United States ride a school bus to and from school every day. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 139 fatalities occur each year involving school transportation-related crashes. 

Here are some rules to remember to keep the road safe for everyone, especially when school is back in session: 

  • Never pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop; if you are see the lights, you should slow down and prepare to stop.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate that the bus is stopped and that children are getting on or off; you must stop when the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the highest risk for children being hit by other vehicles, so stop your vehicle further than that to allow space for children to enter or exist.
  • Be aware that school zones have slower speed limits during arrival and dismissal times and that these limits are often strictly enforced.
  • Drive slowly and watch for children walking or biking to school, especially in areas where there are no sidewalks.
  • Be cautious around crosswalks and obey crossing guards; remember, pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Never assume that a pedestrian, especially 
a child, sees your vehicle; some children may walk out into the street or intersection without looking – especially if they are distracted or running late.