August 25, 2014 - New Canaan, CT
This week most area school districts head back to school. We just want to remind everyone to allow extra time to get where you are going; and to pay extra attention to potential children walking along roads, crossing streets, or chatting with friends. There are always lots of distractions, for pedestrians and drivers alike. Please don't let yourself get distracted.
Look out for school buses - those drivers are learning new routes and may be driving in unfamiliar areas. Be prepared to stop frequently and always stay alert.
Everyone is back from summer vacations and our roads will be more crowded. If every driver practices these three simple things, our roads will be a pleasure to drive:
- Be patient - allowing extra time to get where you are headed will take the stress out of driving.
- Be courteous - when stuck in traffic, allow a waiting car to get out of their driveway or merge into traffic; allow time for the car in front of you to safely park or enter traffic from a parked space.
- Be alert - drive defensively and be on the lookout for school buses and children walking. When you stay alert you keep everyone safe: yourself, your passengers, pedestrians and other drivers.
And first and foremost, PLEASE keep you cell phones, PDA's and tablets in your purse or pocket while driving. It's a very simple rule: DO NOT TEXT WHILE DRIVING. EVER. From your fellow drivers on the road and pedestrians on the street, we say Thank You.
While it should go without saying, we want to remind all driver's that its the LAW to STOP for school buses when their lights are flashing. Local police report that driver's passing stopped school buses is a very real problem that creates major safety issues. Here is a quick bus safety video and tips from the National Safety Council.....
Sharing the road safely with school buses:
School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school. The reality of school bus safety is that more children are hurt outside the bus than inside as passengers. Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus. For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:
- All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.
- All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
- While state laws vary on what is required on a divided roadway, in all cases, traffic behind the school bus (traveling in the same direction) must stop.
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
- Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
- Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.