Ensuring Safety In, Around, and On The Way To A School Bus

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One issue that typically comes to the fore once the start of the school year arrives is bus safety.  This has been of particular importance this year in the wake of recent tragedies involving school buses being sideswiped.  Those incidents prompted a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board about the adoption of Vehicle to Vehicle technology to stave off future accidents, but until that happens, it’s up to students to maintain their own safety while onboard.  They can do so with the tips on hand from a new report.

Safety begins on the way to the bus.  Children should leave plenty early, something that parents can help with by ushering them out the door at the appropriate time.  Once kids have left, they need to stick to the sidewalks and maintain focus on their environment.  That means that steps must be taken to limit distraction.  Today’s kids are loaded up with any number of electronic devices that play games, place calls, text, or allow the listening of music.  But these mobile devices need to be used in the appropriate place; walking alongside traffic is not the right venue.

Once a student actually arrives at the bus, he or she should understand that they must stay an adequate distance from the curb so that the driver can see them.  One shouldn’t approach until the bus has stopped and opened the doors.  At that point, the handrail should be used and students should be cognizant of any loose parts of clothing that could catch in the door.  The student must head right for a seat so that the bus can get on its way.

When students get on the bus, it can be tempting to interact loudly with friends.  While it’s perfectly acceptable to chat, this should be done while sitting in the seat and using seatbelts if they’re available.  A driver’s instructions should be followed, especially if they’re aimed at getting the student to quiet or sit down.

Once the bus arrives at school, students should exit and immediately put space between them and the bus itself.  Around ten steps is needed to ensure that the driver can identify the students’ presence.  If an object is dropped, students close to the bus may stay where they are and try to get the driver’s attention; if this isn’t possible, they should wait until the bus leaves.  This is especially pertinent when the item falls near the bus wheels.  A student going near the wheels is entering a blind spot that can be quite dangerous.

Finally, if getting to school means crossing in front of the bus, either wait until the bus leaves or until you can lock eyes with the bus driver so that they give you the go-ahead.  If a crossing guard is on hand, follow their directions as well.