Winter break is over, and school is back in full swing. You likely encounter school buses regularly when commuting to work or running your morning errands, but do you know best practices for maneuvering around them? Do your children know how to get on and off the bus safely? Failing to follow certain rules around buses can result in serious fines – not to mention put children at risk. While school bus accidents are relatively rare, they can lead to serious injuries for both the children inside and the other motorists. Follow some simple school bus safety tips to maximize the well-being of everyone on the road.
Talk to Your Children About Bus Behavior
School buses are some of the safest modes of transportation out there, with high back seats, large mirrors, and cautious drivers. Statistically, your children are most likely to incur injury when getting on or off the bus. Talk to your kids about appropriate bus behavior at every stage of the ride, including:
- Getting on the bus: Stay away from the road when waiting for the bus and discourage roughhousing near traffic. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before boarding, and wait until a bus driver gives the signal before crossing the street or climbing aboard.
- Riding the bus: Tell your children to stay seated and facing the front when riding the bus. Keep head and arms inside the bus and encourage your children to keep their belongings in their seat, not the aisles.
- Disembarking from the bus: When exiting a bus, tell your children to wait until the driver gives the signal before crossing the street, while keeping an eye out for any traffic changes. Never cross behind a bus – only where a driver can see you.
Driving Around Buses
Motorists must also do their part to prevent school bus accidents. While buses have large mirrors, remember this general rule of thumb: If you can’t see the mirrors, they cannot see you. Always assure a safe following distance from buses and respect the vehicle’s size and cargo.
When driving around buses, always minimize distractions and be prepared to stop. Put away your phone, stop fiddling with the radio, and put both hands on the wheel. Buses make frequent stops, and failing to recognize a slowing bus could lead to an accident – or worse.
Georgia law also requires certain stopping distances when a bus has its stop sign up and red lights flashing. Traffic in both directions must stop, providing at least 10 feet of space. Failure to follow these directions can result in a mandatory court appearance, $1,000 fine, and up to 6 points on your license. For your safety and the safety of others, always exercise caution around school buses by following these safety tips. Teaching your children about bus safety and exercising caution on the road could save a life! If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a bus accident, talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to review your legal options.