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Sharing the Road with School Buses

The first day of school is just around the corner. Undoubtedly, many of you have already started to see school buses roaming your neighborhoods, practicing their new routes for the 2015-16 school year. We have a question though: how well do you know the rules of the road as they relate to school buses?

Not only does knowing the bus laws keep everybody safe, it also keeps you from getting a reckless driving ticket.

Review these key tips and points, courtesy of esurance, and keep the road safe for everyone.

Driving safely near moving school buses

If you see a school bus in your lane or coming towards you, pay close attention to what it’s doing. Give the bus extra space and be prepared to stop suddenly as it loads or unloads its cargo (kids).

Because they’re walking on or near the road, kids are in some danger when they get on or off buses. It’s up to the cars around them to keep a close watch and make sure the coast is clear before continuing on.

With that in mind, here are some cardinal rules to follow:

  • School buses are required to stop at railroad crossings, so be ready to hit the brakes if you’re behind one
  • School buses travel at slower speeds, so expect to slow down and only pass when the bus driver signals you to go by
  • Pay attention to any stop signs or signals on the bus

Safety around stopped school buses

Because school buses are so big, your visibility around them is limited. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2003 to 2012, 30 percent of school-age pedestrians that died in school transportation-related crashes (PDF) were struck by another vehicle on the road. In order to protect children, states have enacted stopping laws. These laws dictate when you must stop your vehicle for a school bus as well as the severity of penalties you face for any violation. The rule of thumb: the second you see the bus lights flashing and the stop sign pop out, be ready to stop.