September 1st, 2016
Fall is just around the corner, and with the change of seasons comes the beginning of a new school year. With colleges, high schools and elementary schools back in session, now is a great opportunity to increase our awareness of pedestrians and to brush up on school zone laws, most importantly, how to properly share the road with school buses.
It is crucial to be aware of school zone speed limits and know the hours they are in effect. It’s always a good idea to be extra careful around these areas, and to be on the lookout for children crossing the road. Sometimes there will be a crossing guard posted at intersections to guide children safely across, so be alert and obey their mobile stop sign as they cross. Always wait for pedestrian crossing before making your turn or proceeding into the intersection, and never block the crosswalk at the light. This is very dangerous to pedestrians as it may put them into harm's way just to cross.
With the start of the school year, you'll be sharing the road with school busses much more frequently, so understand the proper procedures for bus safety. Slow down when school buses start flashing their yellow lights, and be prepared to stop. These lights indicate to traffic that the bus will be stopping to load or unload children, and are always followed by the flashing red lights and extended stop arm. Slow down and give the bus the proper amount of room for the safety of the children.
It is important to stop a minimum of 10 feet from the school bus. Children can be reckless and often do not pay attention to hazards, including looking before crossing the street. It is important to leave a minimum of 10 feet or more to help ensure the children’s safety.
It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended on both sides of the street. Laws vary by state whether or not you must stop on the opposite side of a divided highway (it is illegal in New York State), but it is illegal everywhere to pass on an undivided one. Regardless of flashing lights, never pass a stopped school bus on the right. This is a serious danger to children and could be potentially deadly.
Click here for more school-related safety tips in New York State.