From September to June, motorists across America share the road with those big yellow school buses. While they do slow traffic and are a nuisance to get stuck behind, it’s important to remember what they are carrying. Would you want another driver to be reckless around a bus that is carrying your child? There are many safety tips and reminders that our New York rental car customers should keep in mind if they encounter a school bus on the road. Many states have very strict laws surrounding school buses. To keep yourself legal and schoolchildren safe, follow these safety tips when sharing the road with a school bus.
School buses make frequent stops. It’s the law in most areas for school buses to stop at all railway crossings. For these two reasons, it’s important to leave plenty of room between your New York rental car and the bus ahead of you. No matter where they are – highways or towns – school busses will likely stop at railroad crossings, so be prepared.
The more obvious reason for making frequent stops is to drop off and pick up children. The stops can be somewhat unexpected for New York drivers, as the bus is liable to stop anywhere along the road, even if the bus is not in front of a house. When the bus stops and puts on its flashing lights, it is mandatory that you stop. Wait for the lights to disengage and the bus to resume driving.
If you are in a hurry and want to pass the bus, wait until you have a stretch of road that allows you to pass. Never pass a bus while it’s stopped to load or unload.
Respect the Lights and Signs of the School Bus
If a school bus is stopped and has its stop sign outstretched, crossing arm activated, or lights flashing, you need to bring your New York rental car to a complete stop. Even if you are headed in the opposite direction, it is required by law in many places that you stop and wait for pedestrians to unload or cross the street and that you do not proceed in your New York rental car until the lights and signs are disengaged. The exception to this rule would be highways divided by a standing median; traffic coming in the opposite direction is not required to stop.
Similarly, when you see lights and signs on a school bus, passing it is illegal (doing so will be accompanied with heavy fines). Slow down, and be prepared to stop.
Other School Bus Safety Tips for New York Drivers
School buses are pretty hard to miss: they’re big and yellow, with reflective stickers, flashing lights, and warning messages on them. For you, this means a few things:
- The size of the bus limits how well it can maneuver on the road. As such, they make wider turns.
- School buses take longer to stop, especially in adverse weather. Also, they stop frequently.
- They travel at lower rates of speed.
When you approach a school bus from either direction, you should use extra caution:
- If a school bus turns in front of you, it will take longer for the bus to leave your lane.
- If they make a right hand turn, they could swing wider into the intersection.
- They also have large blind spots and rely heavily on the use of their mirrors. If you cannot see the bus driver in one of the bus mirrors, the driver can’t see you either.
To avoid any run-ins with a school bus, slow down, use extra caution, and drive as though one of the children on the bus is your child.
These are good rules to live by when you encounter school buses on the road.