There are very specific traffic laws in regards to driving near a school bus. Failure to observe these laws can result in heightening citation fines and even jail time. School bus drivers are trained to ensure the safety of children on board, but motorists can exercise more caution to avoid motor vehicle accidents involving a school bus or a school child pedestrian. The following is a good review of safety tips for sharing the road with a school bus. It is rare that school buses are involved in motor vehicle accidents. Usually erratic, unsafe drivers around school buses are more likely to cause an accident with another vehicle, not the school bus.
- Plan ahead for delays in traffic for you morning or afternoon commute. School buses make frequent stops and there is not always a safe opportunity to pass them.
- Maintain a safe distance behind a school bus. When behind a school bus while you are both in motion, give yourself a minimum of 3 seconds of safe stopping time. If you cannot see the bus’ review mirrors, chances are the bus driver cannot see you in their blind spot, and you are following way too close. Keep a minimum of 10 feet from behind a school bus when both the bus and your vehicle are stopped.
- Only pass on the left side of a school bus. There are far too many blind spots for your vehicle to be in if you attempt to pass a bus on the right. If you are beginning to pass on the left and you the bus driver indicate through hand signals or lighted turn signal that they are going to switch lanes, slow down and allow the bus to switch lanes. It is easier for your vehicle to slow down than a school bus.
- Flashing yellow lights indicate that a school bus is about to stop. Regardless of which side of the road the school bus is, you must stop if the bus is flashing red lights or its stop sign is extended.
- School buses not only make frequent stops for loading and unloading children, but they stop and all stop signs, flashing light intersections, yield sign, and all railroad crossings, regardless if there is an oncoming train.
- Keep a cautious eye out for children waiting to be picked up at school bus stops, and children getting dropped off. Children and teenagers often do not pay attention to oncoming traffic, so be prepared to stop and proceed by school bus stops slowly.
School bus drivers can actually record license plate numbers for people violating traffic laws around school buses and report this information to authorities. Some states even install video recording devices on the outside of school buses to catch motorists who drive unsafely or break traffic laws. With a little bit of common sense and the unified desire for the safety of children on school buses, we all can avoid dangers while sharing the road with school buses.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.