Sharing the Road with School Buses
School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road (according to the NHTSA). Brightly colored paint, flashing lights, and extended stop signs make school buses 70% safer than passenger vehicles. Still, with so much forethought given to safety, reports show that four to six school-aged children die each year in school vehicles (source).
Aside from the visual aesthetics designed to help with school bus safety, state laws are enforced to ensure that children remain safe both inside and outside of the bus. Below are some of the rules drivers must follow when sharing the road with school buses.
Do Not Pass
It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus while children are walking to or from the bus. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a two-lane road and your lane is clear. It’s illegal.
Pay Attention to the Lights
Yellow flashing lights mean that the bus is preparing to come to a stop. This doesn’t mean you should gun it in an attempt to pass. It means that the red lights are up next, which correlates to children entering or exiting the bus. Buses also have a stop sign that extends from the side which is a clear indicator that you should…stop.
Anyone who has ever been behind a school bus knows that there’s a lot of stop-and-go on the horizon. You might be tempted to check your phone or scroll TikTok as you follow along, but you should still stay alert. If the bus makes a sudden stop, you may find yourself in an accident because you were paying too much attention to an influencer trying to sell you vitamin supplements.
Watch for Kids and Pets
Kids are unpredictable. You should never assume that you know which way they are going to run when they exit the bus. Also, keep a keen eye out for pets. Many like to accompany their people to the bus stop and they may get excited when they see them.