5 Important Tips for Safe Driving Around School Buses
If you are commuting to work on busy school routes, you are likely to meet school buses regularly on the way. Remember that these buses exist to make your journey more enjoyable, as parents do not have to give their children a ride, increasing congestion in cities. Below, you will find some tips on how to drive safely around school buses and share the road with children and bus drivers.
- Look Out for Children
Remember that children might get on and off buses at any time, and due to their size, they are less noticeable than adults. You might also see some children walking along the road, or playing while waiting for the bus. Slow down and get ready to hit the brakes any time. Just because you see the bus, it does not mean that children see you emerging from behind it. Always look out for signs of children emerging from blind spots.
- Check the Mirrors
The bus driver is trained on defensive driving, therefore, he or she will do anything to avoid an accident and keep the passengers safe. You can do the same by adjusting your mirrors and checking them more often than you normally would. When the bus stops, you might need to anticipate children running for it without looking at the traffic, so keep checking your blind spots for them. You might want to lower your mirrors so that you can spot small kids easier.
- Look for Clues of the Driver’s Intentions
School bus drivers are generally good at giving you signals of their intention. They know that it is important that they are seen and their maneuvers are understood by other road users. If they assume that you cannot see their indicator lights, they are likely to give you a signal. Make sure you do a full 360-degree check before overtaking the bus, even if you assume that they are going to stay parked for a while, and your actions do not affect oncoming traffic or create dangerous situations.
- Prepare to Stop Anytime
When entering a school zone, slow down immediately. Different states have their own speed limits and regulations in school zones. When school is on, you need to expect children crossing the street anywhere they feel like, riding the bikes, and the situation might seem chaotic. Drive at a speed that allows you to stop at any time if needed. You cannot simply predict when and where the school bus is going to stop.
- Keep a Safe Distance
The key to safe driving is keeping a safe distance from school buses. Remember that the farther back you stay the more chance the school bus driver has to see you in their mirror. A good distance will help you let children crossing the road get past without having to squeeze through your car and the bus. However, keeping a too large of a gap might encourage other drivers to overtake and squeeze in, filling the gap and creating an unsafe situation.