School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers and Riders
It’s that time of year once again. Big yellow school busses are on the move taking some 23 million kids back and forth to school. But, despite their size and color, bus drivers, students and other drivers on the road need to stay alert as students prepare to board. School buses are often overlooked by distracted drivers who don’t notice the bus lights until it’s too late. School bus safety tips for drivers and students.
School bus safety tips for drivers and riders.
As a driver:
- When backing out of your driveway, keep an eye out for kids walking or biking to school. Kids are often talking, playing games, or otherwise distracted and not paying attention to this kind of hazard.
- Know where the school bus stops are in your neighborhood. Kids are often playing or goofing around while waiting for the bus and could accidentally get pushed or fall into the street as you are driving by.
- Always drive defensively — be alert and aware of your surroundings in your neighborhood and in school zone areas.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when you see the yellow flashing lights on the bus indicating it is getting ready to pick up or drop off kids.
- Be sure to stop a safe distance away when you see the bus’s red flashing lights and the stop arm signal. Although this seems to be common sense (and it is the law, too), drivers often do not stop.
School buses are the safest way to get to and from school. According to NHTSA, students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car.
As a bus rider:
- When getting on the bus, avoid roughhousing and other careless behavior.
- Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before approaching the bus.
- Don’t distract the driver with loud noises and stay in your seat.
- Keep your books and bags out of the aisles.
- Make sure the bus has stopped completely before getting up from your seat.
- Use the handrail when getting on and off the bus.
- Make sure the bus driver (and other drivers) can see you. If you are crossing in front of the bus, walk ahead approximately 10 feet or until you can see the driver before you cross.
- Keep an eye out for other traffic. Always look left, right and then left again.
Back to School: Driving Safely with School Buses [Video]
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published August 25, 2015. It was reviewed on October 13, 2022 and updated for content and accuracy.