Refresher: Rules for Driving Around School Buses
During the school year, school buses driving around at about the same time everyone is heading to work are just a fact of life. However, this week drivers who didn’t stop for the school bus killed several children, and I have personally seen a couple videos making the rounds of near-misses. Add to that the comments of one of those drivers who said that they didn’t know what the lights were about, and I think we need a refresher course on just what you are supposed to do around school buses.
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The basic gist of school bus driving law is that if those lights come on or the little stop sign comes out, you have to stop. This is the same in every state, with some states going so far as to mandate how far away you need to stop. You have to stop no matter if the bus is on your side of the road or not.
The only exception to this rule is if the bus stops on a divided road, like if there is a center lane or a median. This exception only applies if you are on the far side of the road from the bus, at which point you can keep driving.
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Of course, the other rule to keep in mind is to drive carefully when buses are around. Children are unpredictable. They sometimes forget rules like “look both ways,” and don’t always pay close attention to their surroundings. So, when you’re moving, don’t mess with your radio or phone. If you need to do that, pull over. No matter what, though, watch carefully for children around school buses.