When you drive safely around school buses, there are many road rules to observe as a driver, but school bus safety rules are among the most if not the most important rules. Unluckily, most drivers overlook the rules. The US traffic law incredibly protects school buses and for good reason, people trust the buses to transport their kids back and forth school safely each day. Without good standards and laws in place to protect the buses, our children would be in huge potential harm.
Most school buses are not only large, but they are also slow moving. Moreover, they stop frequently for various reasons such as pick-ups, drop-offs, and railroad tracks. Due to their unusual behavior when in traffic and their important function, you should know how to drive when near a school bus on the road. Here are some of the things to do:
When you drive safely around school buses, be patient when driving around school buses
Unlike sports cars, school buses are heavy and large trucks. The manufacturers design them in that manner to guarantee maximum protection for the occupants. The sole purpose of these buses is to pick-up school kids on their way to school and finally drop them off at the end of the day. That is the key reason why they stop frequently. That should also tell you why you should exercise patience when driving around school buses.
Be defensive when driving around school buses
If there are buses on the road, you should know that it is not the time to drive aggressively. At such times, you should cultivate your attitude of caution and anticipate the moves other drivers are likely to make. That is more important in bad weather conditions.
Maintain the right distance from a school bus
The first question you are likely to ask when told to maintain the right distance when driving around school buses is, which is the right distance? The distance should be at least three car lengths when driving on a highway or road behind a school bus. The distance should be higher when driving at a higher speed. Whenever a school bus stops, you should stop your car at least 10-20 feet behind. You should be ready to stop including when approaching the bus in an opposing lane from the opposite direction. That is a law in all the 50 states.
When you drive safely around school buses, you MUST STOP your vehicle completely when a bus is loading or offloading
When a school bus flashes yellow lights, you should know that it is preparing to stop and you should
prepare to stop your car too. Immediately it starts flashing the red lights and extends the stop sign,
you should know that it is picking up or dropping off passengers. Remain at a stop until the stop sign
retracts and the red lights are off. Most fatalities involving school buses happen when other drivers
try to pass a parked bus.
Be careful when overtaking school buses
Never overtake a bus outside the legal passing zones. Moreover, you should be extra careful when doing that. That is because school buses have larger blind spots and the drivers might have difficulties seeing smaller vehicles.
Remember that children act in unpredictable manner
There will be children in the area after the school bus driver deactivates the red lights and stop sign. Children rarely act in a predictable way and may cross the road unexpectedly. Therefore, be careful after the bus moves.