With summer coming to an end and school bells ringing in another school year, it is important for parents and drivers to remember to do their part to keep kids safe as they travel to and from school.
Riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school (Yes, it’s even safer than you taking them yourself!). However, the greatest risk is not riding the school bus –but rather the threat of being struck by a bus or motorist while approaching or leaving it.
Therefore children need to be especially careful around the school bus “danger zone,” (the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus) and motorists need to be on a vigilant lookout for child pedestrians – and be extra cautious around school buses.
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:
- 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.
- Be alert. Eliminate your distractions. 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.
- Take extra precautions in school zones and neighborhood areas where children and teenagers might be walking or riding a bicycle.
- Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they take proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to share with your children to ensure their safety when traveling to and from school.
- Whether you’re getting on or off the bus, stay 10 feet ahead of the bus when crossing the street in front if it, and NEVER walk behind the bus
- Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first because the driver may not be able to see you.
Most young children who are hit by motor vehicles are injured near their home or on neighborhood streets in broad daylight. One third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur during the after school hours, between 3 and 7 pm.1 Teach your child these tips to increase their safety while walking:
- Always look left-right-left before crossing the street and never run or dart out from in-between parked cars. The driver will not be able to see you.
- Be sure to keep on the lookout for cars as you cross, they can approach very quickly!
- Never run out into streets or cross in between parked cars.
- Use a cross-walk if you can –otherwise be sure to only cross the street at corners.
- Keep on the sidewalk –if there’s no sidewalk then be sure to face traffic as you walk.