School buses are responsible for transporting millions of students between home and school every day. They are easily one of the safest transportation options for riders, providing substantial protection from other vehicles. When accidents occur, pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles are usually the ones who suffer injuries. School bus accidents and accidents in general are often preventable, and it’s up to both bus drivers and drivers of other vehicles to keep the road safe.
If you or your child have been injured in a school bus accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Find out more now by calling Hodges Trial Lawyers at 256-826-4129.
Safe Driving Practices
There’s a lot that personal drivers can do to protect the students who rely on school buses for transportation. A key part of driver safety is respecting a bus’s stop sign. When a bus driver extends the stop sign on the bus, that means they are stopping to drop off or pick up students. Drivers approaching the bus from either direction must come to a complete stop and wait for the stop sign to be put away. Drivers who do not obey the stop sign risk preventable accidents and citations.
Drivers should also maintain an appropriate following distance when driving behind a school bus. School buses have a 10-foot “danger zone” that extends from the bus in all directions. Drivers and pedestrians should assume that the bus driver cannot see anything in that zone. Assume that a bus could stop at any time, and give yourself plenty of time to come to a complete stop should that happen.
If you’re driving near a school bus in a school zone, take extra care to obey the lower speed limit found in school zones. Lower speed limits may be inconvenient for drivers, but they save children’s lives. When you drive in a predictable manner, you make it much easier for other drivers to stay safe around you.
Know Local Schools’ Schedules
It can be helpful to know the schedules of the schools near you. This includes when the school year starts and ends, as well as the starting and ending time of the school day. If you have to leave for work or other obligations on weekdays, make sure to leave yourself enough time so that you aren’t tempted to speed or take other unsafe shortcuts to get around school buses.
As the school year goes on, you’ll get a good sense of when you’re likely to encounter buses on your commute and when you’ll have a smoother drive.
Safe Loading and Unloading
Some of the most devastating school bus accidents happen when a bus is loading and unloading. Many adults don’t know how large a school bus’s blind spot is—now imagine how many children think that a bus driver can see them as long as they can see the bus driver. Parents can prevent tragic accidents by teaching their children about safe loading and unloading procedures.
When a bus approaches the bus stop, kids should take several large steps back from the road to ensure that they are clear of the bus. Another important part of this is arriving at the bus stop early—when kids are running to catch the bus, it is far easier to make a life-changing mistake.
You should also teach children never to approach a bus until it has come to a complete stop. Even when a bus is barely moving, it is capable of causing serious injuries. There’s no rush to get on or off the bus, so it doesn’t hurt to wait for it to come to a complete stop.
If children have to cross the bus’s path in order to get to their house or school, make sure they know that they should always cross in front of the bus—and they should do so only after being waved on by the bus driver. This ensures that the bus driver sees them and knows to wait until they have crossed.
Find Out How Hodges Trial Lawyers Can Help with Your Accident Claim
After a school bus accident, there’s a lot to consider. Your compensation options may depend on whether the school bus was operated by a government agency or a private company. That’s why you should always work with an experienced school bus accident lawyer. Call us at 256-826-4129 or get in touch online to set up a consultation right away.