Before and After
School Bus Safety
Do you ride the bus to school every day? If you do, you're like 23 million other students across the country who wake up (yawn!), head over to the bus stop and catch the big yellow bus that comes cruising down the street.
Did you know that school buses are one of the safest forms of transportation around? The greatest potential danger is actually not riding the bus, it's Before and After: before you get on and after you get off.
Yellow Flashing Lights on the bus indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and load or unload. This means cars need to slow down and get ready to stop.
Red Flashing Lights and Stop Signal Arm indicates that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. This tells motorists to stop their cars.
The Bus Driver. A bus driver's main concern is safety. To become a bus driver you must be a good driver and pass a test which allows you to get a special license. What's your bus driver's name?
Side and Rear View Mirrors let the driver know what is going on around them. Cars may be approaching, kids may be walking up to the bus, and bikes may be close by.
Emergency Exits. Let's hope you never have to use them, but just in case, you should always know where the exits are. In a real emergency listen to your driver for instructions.
Crossing Control Arm is mounted on the front bumper and will swing out when the door is opened. It is designed to keep children from walking close to the front of the bus.
Danger Zone (front): DANGER ZONE! It's never safe to walk close to the front of the bus. The bus driver may be sitting up too high to see you. Walk 5 giant steps ahead of the bus before crossing in front of it.
Danger Zone (sides): DANGER ZONE! Remember never walk close to the side of a school bus. Stay at least 3 giant steps away from the side. You may be in the bus driver's blind spot - if you are where he/she can't see you.
Danger Zone (behind bus): DANGER ZONE! Never walk behind a school bus. The driver will not be able to see you.
Walking Area: When getting off the bus make sure you walk (not run) three more steps away from the door. This is the best place to be around a bus. Stay away from the bus wheels and watch out for moving cars!
Now that you are familiar with areas of your school bus, take a look at this check list, to make sure you will be safe when using the bus.
Getting to the bus stop
Always get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is due to arrive.
Running across the road to catch the bus isn't smart.
If you have to walk on roads where there's no sidewalk, always walk against traffic. Try to stay off the road as much as possible.
When crossing the street to get to the bus, always look left, then right, then left again. Cars will approach on the left first. If there are parked cars blocking your view, go to the nearest corner cross walk.
Getting on the bus
When the bus approaches, do the smart thing: step back and stand at least THREE GIANT STEPS away from the curb. That way the bus driver can pull up to the curb so you won't have to walk out in the street to get on.
Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it's okay to board before stepping onto the bus.
Never walk behind the bus or close to the side of the bus. You could be in the driver's blind spot.
If you drop something near the bus, don't pick it up until you tell the bus driver or he may not see you.
When you get on the bus, take your seat quickly.
While you're riding the bus
When the bus is moving, always stay in your seat.
Let the bus driver concentrate on the road. Just imagine how hard it would be to pay attention to the road with 30 students TALKING TALKING TALKING TALKING all at once!!! Remember, the bus driver's job is to get you to and from school safely.
Getting off the bus
When you leave the bus, use the handrail. It'll help you avoid a crash if you stumble.
(Now this is really important!) Make sure there's nothing sticking out on you (your clothes, the hood of you coat, keychains, etc) or your backpack (straps, drawstrings, or anything else) that could get caught in the handrail on the bus or the bus door. What if the bus driver took off while you're still trying to get off the bus. (Ouch!)
If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk (or along the side of the road) to a point that's at least 5 GIANT STEPS ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
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Material taken from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.