National School Bus Safety Week

children entering schoolbusChildren are back in school, and now more than ever, we need to be cautious while on the road. National School Bus Safety Week provides a great opportunity to remind everyone to stop, watch, and drive slowly around schools and buses. Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility.

This year’s theme is “Be Aware – Know the Danger Zone”. What’s the Danger Zone? It’s the loading and unloading area, and it includes all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of not being seen by the bus driver (ten feet in front of the bus where the bus driver may be too high to see a child, ten feet on either side of the bus where a child may be in the bus driver’s blind spot, and the area behind the bus). The Danger Zone is where most accidents occur.

With this in mind, we’d like to go over some important tips that will help keep children safe during the school year.

Safety Reminders For School Children

Do you ride a school bus? If so, here are some safety tips for you:

  • Arrive at the bus stop early. If you’re running late, you’re more likely to rush across the street to catch the bus. It is better to take your time so you are aware of your surroundings.
  • When crossing the street, always use a crosswalk if one is available.
  • Remember what you learned in first grade: Look both ways before you cross the street.
  • While waiting for the bus, stand back at least ten feet from the road.
  • Always listen to the bus driver. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
  • The bus driver cannot see you if you are standing closer than ten feet to the bus. Stay out of the danger zone!
  • If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. NEVER try to pick it up yourself!
  • When the driver says it’s safe to cross the street, remember to CROSS IN FRONT of the bus, never behind.
  • Check both ways for cars before stepping off the bus and before crossing any roads.

It’s also important to stay safe while on the bus. So, remember:

  • Take your seat quietly and quickly, and remain seated when the bus is moving.
  • Keep your feet on the floor and never extend your hands, arms, head, or any object out the window of a bus.
  • Talk in a quiet voice, be courteous to the driver and your schoolmates, and don’t distract the driver.

Safety Reminders For Motorists

school boyYour days of riding on a school bus may be long over, but you still need to do your part when it comes to safety. So, keep these important points in mind whenever you get behind the wheel:

  • Slow down in school zones. The speed limit is lower in these areas because students are moving on and off the bus, being dropped off by their parents, or walking to school. Slowing down in these zones gives you extra time to react.
  • Slow down for yellow flashing lights on school buses.
  • STOP for red flashing lights and the stop arm. The red lights mean students are getting on and off the bus.
  • On a road with two-way traffic, cars traveling in both directions need to stop, unless it is a divided highway with a median.
  • As winter draws near, and the days become shorter, more students will be waiting for the bus in the dark. Exercise extra caution, especially in the mornings.
  • And finally, remember to slow down, take your time, and keep your full attention on the road.