Its September, and that means back to school. School buses are returning to our roads after a longer than normal absence. While virtual learning and A/B schedules may keep some cars off the road, guidelines reduce the numbers of students per school bus. This means we should see the same number of busses on the roads as previous years.
We all know the law requires us to stop for a stopped school bus; however, some of us forget the detailed rules when it comes to divided highways, multilane roads, and approaching a stopped school bus from the opposite direction. Others just don’t care about the rules of the road. It infuriates me to see someone fly by a stopped school bus when its lights are flashing.
Rule breaking drivers infuriate school bus drivers too. Imagine having the primary responsibility for the safety of 50+ students going to or coming home from school. Often students cross the road to get onto or off the bus. Having a distracted or aggressive driver pass the school bus (or worse--crash into the school bus) is a recipe for absolute disaster. We have no tolerance for inattentive rule breaking that puts people’s lives in danger.
I’ve also even seen people stopping when they shouldn’t, presumably out of an abundance of caution. That can also be dangerous if the driver behind you doesn’t expect you to stop.
This reminds us of recent tragic stories around stopped buses and injures at bus stops. In September of last year, a logging truck crashed into the rear of a SUV who was pushed into a stopped school bus, injuring fifteen students. In a close call just a couple months later, a rule-breaking logging truck driver broke the crossing gate off a stopped school bus in Lancaster.
So here they are: 5 Rules for Approaching a Stopped School Bus (along with a shareable infographic).
- Don’t overtake (pass in the same direction) a school bus that is flashing its amber lights
- Stop while the flashing stop sign is extended
- Always stop when behind a school bus going in the same direction
- Stop when approaching on a two-lane road
- Keep going when approaching a school bus on a multilane road (at least two lanes in each direction)