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KHP Stresses Back to School Safety

BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY STRESSED AS SCHOOL RESUMES

With students getting back to school, there are some important safety reminders the Kansas Highway Patrol would like to point out to students, parents, and motorists in Kansas.

Tips for Children

• Do not hurry to get on or off the bus. Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled.

• As the bus approaches, stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the roadside, and line up away from the street.

• Wait until the bus stops, door opens, and the driver says it’s OK before stepping onto the bus. Use handrails to avoid falls. Be careful that clothes, shoelaces, book bags, or other items are secure and won’t get caught on the handrail or door of the bus.

• If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before you cross in front of it. Be sure the driver can see you, and you can see the driver. Never walk behind the bus, and walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.

• Children should stop at the bus’s edge and look both ways twice for oncoming traffic before crossing the street. Kids must learn the importance of watching for traffic before getting off the bus and before crossing the street, because drivers may not see them.

• If you drop something, tell the driver, then make sure the driver understands before you try to pick it up, as they may not see you bending down. A child’s less likely to drop something in traffic if they carry a backpack.

• Obey the bus driver, sit facing forward in the seat, use an inside voice, and do not stick anything out the windows.

Tips for Drivers

• When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or riding a bicycle to school.

• When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.

• Slow down. Watch for children congregating near bus stops.

• Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

• Know that it is illegal to pass a school bus stopped for loading/unloading. In Kansas, the fine for this potentially deadly violation is $315 plus court costs.

• If you see a bus ahead, slow down in preparation for its possible stop. It’s easy to misjudge the speed at which you can overtake a bus, and they make frequent stops. The sooner you slow, the more prepared you will be to stop.

• Learn the flashing signal light system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions. Never pass a bus when flashing lights are displayed.

o Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop.

o Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before starting to drive again.

About Jeff Ottens