For many Georgia families, the beginning of August also means the beginning of the back-to-school season. There will be more congestion on the roadways as parents drop their children off at school, school buses transport students, and kids ride their bikes or walk to class. It is important for motorists and pedestrians to share the road and pay attention to their surroundings. Here are a few tips to stay safe with the back to school traffic:
Bus Stop Safety
Before your child heads back to school, talk to them about how to stay safe around the school bus…
1. When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 ft) away from the curb and line up away from the street.
2. Sit facing the front of the bus
3. When exiting bus, cross in front with at least 10ft between you and bus
4. Wait for bus driver to signal it’s safe to cross road
5. If you drop something in front of the bus, tell the driver before picking it up
6. Never walk behind the bus.
“The greatest risk to your child is not riding a bus but approaching or leaving one.” – NHTSA
School Bus Safety
Approximately 25 million students take the bus to school every day in America. While school buses are 70 times safer than traveling by car, it is important to know about all the safety features available…
Brakes: School buses are required to have to highest rated braking system available for the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating
Emergency Exits: Each bus is equipped with an emergency exit door, an emergency exit on the roof of the bus, and emergency push-out windows
Fire Extinguisher and First-Aid Kit: Every bus is required to have at least one fire extinguisher and one first-aid kit on board
Non-Skid Floor Covering: To prevent students from slipping or falling while on the school bus
Protective Passenger Seating: The seats on a school bus are designed to absorb the impact of a collision and are also installed close together on the vehicle for maximum protection
Rollover Protection Features: The body of the school bus (especially the roof and side panels) are designed to withstand the impact of a collision and the force of a rollover crash.
Since there will be more congestion on the roadways as parents drop their children off at school, school buses transport students, and kids ride their bikes or walk to class it is important to share the road and pay attention to your surroundings…
Parent Drop-offs: According to the National Safe Routes to School program, more children are hit by vehicles outside of their school than at any other location. To avoid this, parents should drop children off directly in front of the building and avoid double parking.
Student Pedestrians: Most of the children killed in school bus accidents are hit as they are walking to and from the bus. In order to keep children safe motorists should allow plenty of space for crosswalks and yield to crossing guards. Also, be extra alert while driving through school zones and near parks.
School Buses: As a general rule, drivers should make sure they have more space between their vehicle and a school bus than they normally would between their vehicle and another car on the road. Doing this will allow drivers more reaction time if the bus makes a surprise stop and it gives students more space to safely enter/exit the school bus.
Bicyclists: While bicyclists have many of the same rights as motorists, children on bikes create special problems because they can be difficult to see and they are not familiar with navigating traffic. Because of this drivers should leave at least 3ft between their car and the bicyclist and be prepared for young riders not to signal. When driving through school zones, motorists should watch for bikes coming from driveways, from around parked cars, or approaching from behind in traffic.
By remembering these school safety tips, motorists, school buses, bicyclists and pedestrians can all safely share the road this new school season.