Share the Road: How to Drive Safely Around School Buses

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Online, Defensive Driving Tips, Driver Safety For You & Your Family, Driving and Safety Tips

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Though most of us drive regular passenger cars, there are a lot of other types of vehicles on the road, and in order to avoid serious traffic accidents, we all have to do our best to drive safely around each other. This is the last in our series of advice on how to share the road with specialty vehicles, following pieces on driving safely around big trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and emergency vehicles. School buses are vehicles that carry around some of the most precious cargo, and there is a lot of specific protocol that comes with driving around and near them. Here are some useful tips for how to drive safely around school buses.

be patient

The fact is, if you are stuck behind a school bus, there is not a lot that you can do. The best course of action is to simply accept that your journey might take a little bit longer today, and be patient as you wait. After all, you getting to your destination a bit faster is not worth risking a heavy fine and perhaps even a serious injury to a child.

watch for signals

You probably don’t know the school bus route by heart, and there aren’t marked stops as there are with regular buses so it’s extra important to pay careful attention to the vehicle that is in front of you. Look for flashing lights and the stop arm. This also goes for when you see a school bus approaching in the opposite direction.

keep your distance

Again, since you do not know exactly when a school bus will be stopping, it is important to keep your distance–at least 10 feet is recommended, and leaving this distance when the bus is stopped is also imperative.

err on the side of caution

Defensive driving is always important, but there is no more important time for it than when you are driving around a school bus. Whenever you are in the vicinity of one of these vehicles, err on the side of defensive–rather than aggressive–driving. It will also help you to stay calm and not get frustrated about having to stop.

stop stop and stop

The law does not care that you have an appointment to get to, or a dinner to cook. If you are caught overtaking or driving by a school bus with the arm extended and the lights flashing, you will face a hefty fine, and most likely some points on your license (maybe even a suspension). Be careful and aware of when the bus ahead of you is stopping, and always always follow suit.

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