Paying attention to other vehicles on the road is very important but there are instances when it becomes even more important. One of those instances is when you’re driving behind a school bus. There are specific school bus protocols for drivers that you will need to follow if you find yourself behind a school bus. These protocols are for the safety of the children getting off of the school bus and will keep you safe as well.
We all need to follow the school bus protocols for drivers when a school bus stops in front of us either to drop off or pick up students.
School Zone Driving
School zones come with their own set of driving laws and each zone is designated by signage. Many of these zones have homes inside which means it is important for residents living in school zones to know the laws. When backing out of driveways or garages, make sure you are always aware of pedestrians, most often students. Speed limits also drop to 25 MPH in a school zone which on average is 500 to 1000 feet away from a school. Some school zone speed limits drop down to 15 MPH. It is also important to be aware of your surroundings when in a school zone. Keep your eyes open for pedestrians crossing the street or students running into the middle of the street. This is why the speed limit is so important to follow as it will make it easier to suddenly stop if needed.
Bus Stop Locations
If you drive by a school zone often, you will notice the bus stop signs. This is where the school bus will stop to pick up and drop off students. Around these bus stops you should be even more vigilant. Students could be running late and run out to cross the street without looking to get to the bus. This is why it is important for you to stay vigilant for them. Children could also be playing by the bus stop as they wait for the bus to arrive and that could mean trouble as well. Maybe the children are playing with a ball and it rolls out into the street, you will need to stop to make sure you don’t hit a child running after that ball.
School Bus Protocols for Drivers
School buses have flashing lights on them that help let you know what they intend to do. In California, there are driving laws that need to be followed when a school bus has flashing lights. More specifically, all traffic, in both directions must treat the flashing red lights on a school bus as a stop light. If you fail to stop at a bus with flashing red lights that is a traffic violation and you could get a ticket. However, if the school bus is on a multilane road, meaning there are two or more lanes traveling in each direction you are not required to stop. Still, you should remain vigilant if a school bus stops in front of you no matter what lights are flashing. The yellow flashing lights on a school bus are to let you know that the bus is about to stop. If you see flashing yellow lights, begin to slow down and wait to see if the red lights start flashing. Then, determine if you are on a multiple lane road or a single lane road before coming to a complete stop.