In the Zone–the Danger Zone
As you hit the roads this morning, it is impossible to ignore the horrible school traffic! When heavy traffic and slow school buses seem like a frustration, it’s easy to forget the reason traffic is slower: children’s safety.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety calls school bus pick-up and drop-off areas “danger zones”. This is because children are frequently passing through crosswalks and walking to and from buses with no supervision.
The SCDPS has listed some basic safety precautions and rules for motorists who see a school bus:
- When you see yellow flashing lights on a school bus, this means SLOW DOWN—the bus is preparing to stop.
- Any red lights flashing on the bus means it is stopped and picking up or dropping off children. This means STOP.
- If you are traveling on a 2-lane road and see a bus stopped with red lights flashing, you must stop regardless of which direction you are traveling on the road.
- Parents are also encouraged to talk with their children about how to safely enter and exit a bus and watch for traffic.
SCDPS also refers to all areas around a parked school bus to also be “danger zones”. This area includes at least 10 feet around all sides of the bus since you can’t possibly see if children are approaching or exiting the bus.
There are also precautions parents can explain to their children to ensure their safety.
- Don’t run to catch a bus that’s already driving away. Try to arrive at least 5 minutes prior to the normal time your bus stops.
- Always stand at least 10 feet away from the curb.
- Be sure the bus has come to a complete stop before stepping up to it.
- If you must cross the street in front of the bus to walk to the entrance, make sure you are far enough in front of the bus that the driver can clearly see you out the front window.
- NEVER WALK BEHIND THE BUS.
- If you drop something near the bus, don’t attempt to pick it up. Notify the bus driver you have dropped something and wait for them to signal you to get it. This way, the bus driver is aware and can see you.
Source: SC Department of Public Safety
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