It's back-to-school time and, for many parents, that means early mornings, new clothes and rushing around to meet the new schedule. Did you know that School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school.
The reality of school bus safety is that more children are hurt outside the bus than inside as passengers. Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus.
For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:
- Most Provinces have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- School buses use yellow/red/strobe flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.
- Most Provinces require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus
are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more
likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when
crossing the street.
Before driving the kids around town, parents need to make sure their vehicles are operating safely. These quick tips will help ensure your vehicle is ready to keep up with the kids' busy schedules.
Be sure to take your vehicle in for routine maintenance. Talk with your mechanic and be sure your cars brakes, wheels, tires, tire pressure and suspension are working well. Don’t forget to also speak with your glass shop to check your wipers, wiper fluid and that you can see clearly through your windshield. These steps can keep your vehicle on the road, not on the side of it.
Practice proper car seat safety. Some mothers will be taking preschool children along when they drive older children to and from school. Make sure everyone is using proper seat restraints at all times.
Obey school zone speed limits. Children may not always stay on the sidewalk or within crosswalk lines, so you need to be extra careful. As a lot of morning traffic is comprised of parents driving children to school, so you should also watch out for other vehicles slowing down or suddenly stopping to let children out.