Back to School: School Bus Safety Tips
During the school year, mornings include kids waiting at bus stops and school buses on the roads — sometimes stopping every few blocks. It’s important to teach young students about staying safe around and on the bus, but it’s just as important for drivers to use caution near children and school buses. Whether you’re walking your kids to the bus stop or driving to work, keep these school bus safety tips in mind.
School Bus Safety for Students
While it can be hectic getting everyone up and ready in the morning, the American School Bus Council says children who are rushing to the bus may be at higher risk for an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that students get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes ahead of their scheduled pick-up time. If you have younger children, Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that an adult walks them to the bus stop and waits with them.
Once you’ve arrived at the bus stop, the NHTSA recommends the following school bus safety tips:
- At the bus stop:
- Wait at least 6 feet away from the curb. (Tell young children to stay at least three giant steps away from the edge of the street.)
- Teach kids that they should not run around and play while waiting.
- Getting on and off the bus:
- Wait for the bus to stop completely and for the door to open. Do not approach the bus to get on, or stand up to get off, until the driver says it’s OK.
- Use handrails when getting on or off the bus.
- Always face forward when seated.
- Use seat belts if they are available, says the National Safety Council.
- Near the bus:
- Never cross the street behind a school bus.
- When crossing in front of the bus, make sure you are at least 10 feet in front of the bus so the driver can see you.
- If anyone drops something near the bus, tell the driver. Do not lean down to pick it up, as the bus driver may not be able to see you.
Safety Tips for Drivers
If you commute to work, give yourself a few extra minutes to drive to the office to safely accommodate your neighborhood school buses. The NHTSA provides these safety tips for driving through a neighborhood where school buses and kids are present:
- As you pull out of your garage or driveway, watch out for children who may be on their way to a bus stop or school.
- Look out for children walking in or near the street and for kids gathering near bus stops. Stay alert, as kids may run into the street to catch a school bus if they’re running late.
- If you see flashing yellow lights on a bus, slow down as this means the bus is about to stop.
- If you see flashing red lights and a stop sign extended, come to a complete stop. This indicates that children are getting on or off the school bus. Do not drive again until the lights have stopped flashing and the bus is moving again.
- Know and obey your state’s specific school bus laws.
- Slow down and use extra caution when driving through school zones, says Safe Kids Worldwide.
It’s important to help get kids safely to and from school each day. Make sure your children know basic school bus safety — both on and around the bus. And if you’re driving, remember to slow down near kids and stop when a bus is letting kids on or off at each stop.
Originally published on August 21, 2013.