School bus accidents are one of the greatest tragedies of a school year. No matter how many public service announcements are made or how many adjustments are made to bus design and safety features, each year still sees some children lose their lives to a preventable bus accident.
As a motorist, you have an obligation to do everything you can to avoid school bus accidents and keep the children aboard those buses safe. If you or your child has been injured in a bus accident, call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151.
Leave a Larger Following Distance
Leaving sufficient stopping distance is always a good idea when driving, but it is absolutely critical when you are behind a school bus. School buses start and stop frequently, and if you aren’t leaving enough space, you could hit the bus or a child getting on or off of it. Driving close to the back of the bus won’t make it go any faster, so stay back.
Watch for Flashing Stop Signs
Most school buses have extendable arms with flashing stop signs that alert drivers to the fact that children are getting on or off the bus. Be especially watchful for these signs and be ready to stop. Not only does blowing past one of these signs get you a hefty ticket, it could also lead to an injured child.
Do Not Pass a Bus on the Side
Even if a school bus does not have an extendable arm with a stop sign, you should not pass a bus on the side when it is stopped to allow children on or off. If a bus is stopped ahead of you, leave a healthy following distance and stop.
Perhaps the best thing you can do when you are following a school bus is to be as alert and attentive as possible. Children are unpredictable. Even if you wait until it is safe to go, it is possible that a young child will dart out in front of you or try to run across the street.
This isn’t even necessarily a matter of fault and liability—it’s a matter of not wanting a young child’s injury or death on your conscience. Be careful when driving and always keep an eye out for little ones.
As the school year gets going, you will notice when the busiest times are for school buses. This allows you to plan your trips accordingly or know when you should be extra careful.
Watch for Railroad Crossings
School buses are legally obligated to stop at railroad crossings. They stop at the crossing, open their door to check for trains, and then continue on their way. Be prepared to stop before you reach a railroad crossing. This might mean waiting to enter an intersection if there is a railroad crossing immediately after the light.
Slow Down and Be Patient
All of these tips boil down to one basic tip: slow down and be careful. Everyone is in a rush to get wherever they are going, but it isn’t worth putting others at risk—especially children. If you give yourself a few extra minutes to leave for work, you can have a less stressful drive and protect the children boarding the bus when you are on the road.
School buses generally travel at much lower speeds than other vehicles, so giving them extra space and being ready to brake makes life easier for everyone. Not only does this keep the road safer, it also allows the bus driver to feel less stressed while driving. As a result, they are less likely to be involved in an accident.
If you follow the rules of the road, consider how unpredictable children can be and drive as safely as you can. You can do your part to avoid school bus accidents and make your community a safer place to live.
Contact Us After Your Bus Accident
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, accidents do happen. If you get hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your options and discuss your case with an attorney, call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151 or contact us online.