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The original item was published from 8/12/2022 12:17:00 PM to 8/24/2022 8:13:48 PM.

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Posted on: August 11, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Back-to-School Driving Safety Tips

school bus with kids running toward it

The school year is starting, which means a lot of children will be on the road in the mornings and afternoons walking, riding their bikes, and getting on and off buses. Please review these laws and safety tips so we can keep our children safe this school year.

Sharing the Road with School Buses

It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Please review the diagram below to understand what to do when a bus stops on the road to pick up or drop off children.

School bus safety graphic

  • Never pass a bus from behind—or from either direction if you're on an undivided road—if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they're walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk
  • Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones and in all residential areas
  • Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians, no matter who has the right of way

Kids walking across the street

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you're turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you who aren’t looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door

Children riding bikes

*Information taken from the National Safety Council

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