According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), riding in a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school. However, as with any form of transportation, there is still some risk involved. Children should be especially careful in the “danger zone” – the area 10 feet behind, in front, or on either side of the bus. Children should also respect the bus driver by following his or her rules while riding the bus and staying seated on the ride to school.
Here are a few school bus safety tips you can teach your child if he or she will be riding the bus to school this year:
- Do not get on the bus until the driver says it is safe to do so.
The school bus driver takes several steps to ensure the safety of all children on and off the bus. The stop sign folds out, lights flash, and the guardrail expands to alert traffic that a child is boarding. The bus driver will then open the doors after coming to a complete stop and will tell the child when it is safe to get on the bus.
- Ask the driver for help if you drop something while getting on or off the bus.
If your child drops something while getting on or off the bus, he or she should notify the bus driver immediately and ask for help. A child kneeling to pick up a book can easily go unseen. Children who cannot be seen are at greater risk of harm.
- Once on the school bus, go directly to your seat and sit down, facing the front of the bus.
Horseplay and unsafe activity is not tolerated on school buses. Children should not stand or climb on the seats when the bus is moving. In many cases, the bus driver will not move from the bus stop until all children are seated and facing forward.
- When exiting the bus, look around for cars before walking away or crossing the street.
Your child should look both ways before stepping off the bus. If he or she needs to cross the street, instruct him or her to walk five giant steps in front of the bus, cross in front of the bus when the driver indicates it is safe to do so, and look both ways for oncoming traffic before crossing the road.
- Do not wait at the bus stop alone.
Children should not wait at a bus stop by themselves without adult supervision. Traffic, strangers, road debris – the list of possible dangers goes on and on. Walk or drive your child to the bus stop and wait patiently until the bus arrives and your child safely boards if they are alone.
- Use the handrails when getting on and off the bus.
To avoid tripping or losing balance, encourage children to use the handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Keep an eye out for loose clothing, book bag straps, or draw strings that may get caught on the railings or doors.
- If you miss the bus, don't run after it!
If your child is running late and happens to just miss the bus, DO NOT encourage him or her to run after it or attempt to flag down the bus driver. Too often, children arriving late for the school bus dart into oncoming traffic and could be seriously injured.
*This is not legal advice. These tips alone are not enough to keep you safe. Please consult your school or the school board for a comprehensive list of bus safety procedure.
As a driver, slow down when approaching bus stops and keep an eye out for children playing near the street. Obey all traffic signs and reduce your speed in school zones to avoid costly fines and legal repercussions. If your child has been injured at a bus stop or on the ride to school, you should seek medical attention immediately. Then, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers to discuss whether you are eligible to pursue compensation.
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