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More tips for heading back to the classroom

Every school day 25 million children ride a big yellow bus. School buses are among the safest modes of transport—safer than riding in a family vehicle or walking, according to the National Safety Council. But there are real risks when kids are getting on and off the bus and as they walk to bus stops. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has these tips to help keep drivers and students safe. 

Tips for Drivers

  • Look before you back out. Watch out for children walking or bicycling to school when backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage. Walk around your car or out to the sidewalk to check for any children about to cross your path before you get in the car.
  • Be on the look out when driving through neighborhoods. Drive slowly and watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks. Be aware of children playing or standing at bus stops.
  • Be alert and aware on the road. Children are usually taught to look both ways before crossing a street, but they could dart into traffic without looking if they're late or distracted.
  • Learn the school bus laws in your state. Yellow flashing lights indicate that a bus is preparing to stop to pick up or drop off children. Drivers need to slow down and prepare to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop-arm signal indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. Cars must stop a safe distance away and not start up until the red lights stop flashing, the stop sign has been folded back, and the bus continues on its way.
These kids are following school bus safety tips as they prepare to board.

Tips for Students

  • Be an early bird. Be at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Maintain a safe distance. Stand at least 6 feet away from the curb when the bus approaches, and keep the line away from the street.
  • Get the all clear from the bus driver. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it's okay to step onto the bus.
  • Remain visible at all times. If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet ahead of it before you cross. Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
  • Use the handrails to avoid falling. But be careful to make sure clothing and backpacks don't get caught in the handrails or doors when exiting the bus.
  • Never walk behind the bus. Again, always make sure that you're in the driver's line of sight. 
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up, because the driver may not be able to see you.