It may not surprise you to know that the big yellow school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the road. It is certainly the safest way for children to get too and from school. This is largely due to the fact that school buses are one of the most heavily regulated vehicles on the road. The biggest danger to the school bus and users of the school bus are other drivers on the road. Therefore it is important for you, as a driver, to take care around a school bus.
Designed to Be Seen
School buses are designed to look that way so that they can be seen. This is to encourage other drivers to be extra careful and extra vigilant around the school bus. The bus also has several extra features to aid drivers. If a school bus is flashing yellow lights, then this means that it is slowing down or preparing to stop. This is either to load or unload children. Therefore you should slow down in your vehicle and be prepared for the bus to stop. If the bus is flashing red lights and has the extended stop arms out then this means that the bus is stopped and is in the process of loading or unloading children.
Take Care in the Area
If you are looking to pass a school bus that is stopped or otherwise go around a stopped school bus you should take extra care and give it a wide berth. Children getting on or off a school bus are normally paying more attention to their friends, their day at school, running home, or practically anything other than other road traffic. So be prepared for Children to run out into the road in front of you, so you should move slowly and take extra care. If children are running late for the bus they may just be running straight towards it and ignore any other vehicles around.
If you are approaching a school zone then keep an extra eye open for children who may be leaving a school bus, or just generally walking in the area. They may be thinking about getting to school or what happened at school that day. What won’t be uppermost in their minds is road safety. You should also watch for children walking in the road, this is particularly true if there are no side-walks in the area of the school. The final thing that you should be aware of is that several school districts are now using smaller 15-seater vehicles for school children when taking them to different venues. These might not be as obvious as traditional school buses. Therefore you should watch for these vehicles in school areas and apply the same level of caution to these as you would to a regular school bus. Regardless of the type of school bus in question vehicle drivers should always take caution, slow down and be extra vigilant around these vehicles.