It’s September once again! After an exhausting summer, gleeful parents around the country are bringing children back to the classroom. Although Back To School is filled with excitement, it’s important not to overlook the importance of teaching kids road safety, especially on the way to school. The more familiar each child is with safety rules, the quicker children, staff, and family ease into a safe routine for their curriculum.
Riding the School Bus Safely
Timing is an important requirement to master when students are designated at specific bus stops. Younger children and new students may take several weeks to learn the bus system’s process. Remind students to arrive no later than 5 minutes before the bus is due.
Learn safety information with the acronym, SAFE. This quick guide is a useful way to present each of the word’s letters and delivering helpful information about bus stop safety procedures and the way they affect the rider:
- Stay no less than ten feet from the curb.
- Always wait for the bus to completely stop. The bus driver will signal when you can board.
- Face forward once you have found your seat.
- Exit the bus after it comes to a complete stop. If you must cross the street, carefully look left, then right, and left again to be sure it’s safe to cross. Proceed when it’s clear.
School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. One of the biggest reasons is their cargo – our families! Statistics show their design is safer than passenger vehicles.
Drivers Should Take Caution
With so many buses on the roads, 1,250 school buses in Louisville, Kentucky alone, accidents do happen. It is important to understand how to share the roads safely with these vehicles. Drivers should watch for changes in activity when they see bus drivers using their flashing lights. It presents a warning from the bus driver that some type of action is pending with the bus’s operation.
One example uses yellow flashing lights. They indicate the bus is preparing to stop so the children can get on or off the bus. It is important to slow down and be prepared to stop.
Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off the bus. Stop your vehicle and patiently wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving. That’s the signal for you to be ready to start driving again.
Always be aware of moving children Even without warning lights, school zones, bus stops, and neighborhoods are the examples of warning areas that should be carefully watched while driving through the area.
It may be more convenient to have your teen drive themselves to school and they will no doubt be excited for this new freedom and responsibility. Car crashes continue to be a leading cause of death in teens, so you need to review safe driving practices and expectations before handing over the keys. Remind your teen to never text or use their phones while driving. Your teen needs to be cautious in school zones, around buses and watch for pedestrians along the way.
Children who walk to school also need to take precautions on busy morning roads. Children should be taught a safe route to school, walking on sidewalks and using crosswalks to cross streets. They should always obey crossing signals and if there is a crossing guard posted to should always utilize them. Walkers should also be reminded to keep their eyes up and off their phones so they can see any cars or other hazards along their route.