School will soon be starting. It’s been a long, hot summer, so kids and motorists alike need to remember some simple rules so this year can be a safe for us all. The Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Highway Patrol offer the following:
Tips for children
• Don’t hurry getting on or off the bus. Arrive at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled.
• As the bus approaches, stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the roadside, and line up away from the street.
• Wait until the bus stops, door opens, and the driver says it’s OK before stepping onto the bus. Use handrails to avoid falls. Be careful that clothes, shoelaces, book bags, or other items are secure and won’t get caught on the handrail or door of the bus.
• If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before you cross in front of it. Be sure the driver can see you, and you can see the driver. Never walk behind the bus, and walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
• If you drop something, tell the driver, and then make sure the driver understands before you try to pick it up. They may not see you bending down. A child is less likely to drop something in traffic if they carry a backpack.
• Obey the bus driver, sit facing forward, use an inside voice, and don’t stick anything out the windows.
• Leave your distractions in your backpack. Everything can wait until you are safely in the school or in your home.
• Just because you are at a crosswalk doesn’t mean that a driver is aware of you. Always look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT again before crossing the street.
Tips for drivers
• When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or riding to school.
• When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.
• Slow down. Watch for children congregating near bus stops.
• Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
• Know that it is illegal to pass a school bus stopped for loading/unloading. In Kansas, the fine for this potentially deadly violation is $315, plus court costs.
• If you see a bus ahead, slowdown in preparation for its stop. It’s easy to misjudge the speed at which you can overtake a bus, and they make frequent stops.
• Learn the flashing signal light system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions. Never pass a bus when flashing lights are displayed – yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop and red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before starting to drive again.
• While stopped behind a bus, motorists should put all distractions away and give their full attention to the road, and what is going on in and around the bus.
Slow down and remember its all about the safety of our children.
— Dale Hogg