School starts soon, drivers beware of children and buses [UPDATED]Published 4:59am Monday, August 12, 2013 Updated 7:03am Monday, August 12, 2013
To the relief of most parents, schools are soon back in session. After a busy summer, we can all benefit from some back-to-school safety reminders, whether a student, a parent, a motorist or a pedestrian.
Have a family discussion on the rules for being safe while loading, riding and exiting the school bus, and how to safely walk to school.
Parents, talk to your teen drivers about a motorist’s responsibility to pay attention to school bus traffic and the “danger zone” — it will be a good reminder for them, and for you. More children are killed outside of a school bus than are killed as bus occupants.
Remind the drivers in your household that each is responsible to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
But even so, teach and remind your children on where they should wait for their bus, how to walk around the bus, and how to safely cross busy streets.
With the new routine of a school year, our mornings are hectic. While we are focused on readying backpacks, homework, and schedules for our children, we are easily distracted as drivers.
We are also often in a hurry. And our kids, who are focused on their friends, their upcoming school day, or their afterschool plans, are easily distracted while walking to school or waiting at their bus stop.
The Otter Tail County Attorney’s Office, along with the Sheriff and all of our law enforcement officers, want everyone to make it to school safely. Please share these reminders with your family.
Tips for children
exiting the bus:
• Even as they exit the bus, children should look both ways to be sure no cars are attempting to pass their bus.
• After exiting the bus, children should take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until they can see the driver’s face.
• Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. And keep watching traffic when crossing.
• Never walk behind the bus.
• Tell the bus driver if you drop something near the bus. A bus driver may not be able to see children attempting to retrieve such items.
Tips for Motorists:
• Whether following or approaching a bus, stop at least 20 feet from the bus if it is displaying red flashing lights and/or an extended stop arm.
• Red flashing lights on buses indicate students entering or exiting the bus.
• Yellow flashing lights indicate a bus is preparing to stop. Slow down and prepare to stop and watch for children.
• Alter your route or schedule to avoid heavily traveled bus routes.
• Watch for school crossing patrols and pedestrians. Reduce speeds in and around school zones.
• Watch and stop for pedestrians-especially around schools and colleges. It’s the law to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, even if it’s not marked. Stop far enough back so drivers in other lanes can also see the pedestrian. Consider every corner as a crosswalk.
• Pay attention. Texting and driving is illegal. Turn off your phone. Limit distractions and focus on your driving and surroundings.