Whether you have just gotten back from school supply shopping yourself (with an extra notebook just for your driving lessons) or this is simply your first time on the roads as a driver at this time of year, driving during the school year requires some extra thought and skill. There are many more pedestrians, most of which are young children, walking around at peak commute hours. The laws surrounding driving near school buses also need to be taken into account. At Ambitious Drivers, we value the safety of our drivers and of the entire community. So, we have compiled a helpful list of things to remember when you’re on the road as the school year begins.
Distracted driving is extremely hazardous at any time, but when there are young pedestrians about, it is important to pay extra attention. Young children might not be fully aware of the dangers of the road; and while parent supervision and crossing guards on duty do their utmost to keep these youngsters safe and on the sidewalk, you should never assume that they won’t stray onto the road. If your route goes through a school zone, or even if you are driving along a common commuter way, be aware of large groups of children on the sidewalks. As always, fully stop at stop signs and never go above the speed limit.
Driving Near Buses
If the road you’re on does not have a median, you must stop for any school bus that has its upper red lights flashing. If you do not stop for a stopped school bus, the first offence can cost you a fine of up to $2000 and six demerit points. You can also be liable if your car is driven past a school bus, even if you weren’t driving it at the time.
If you are driving towards the front of the bus, stop a good safe distance from the front door and allow all the children to get on the bus or exit. You must not begin driving again until all the lights have stopped, and give the bus room to drive away first.
If you are driving on a road with a median, traffic going in the opposite direction to the bus, on the other side of the median, does not need to stop.
Safety for Students
We know many of our students are still in high school as well, so here are some things anyone riding a school bus this year should remember:
Always remain at least ten paces from the front or side of the bus while waiting. Never wait behind the bus.
Be at the bus stop a few minutes before it arrives; never run to try and catch the bus.
Wait for the flashing lights to begin before you board or exit.
If you drop something on your way on or off the bus, do not stoop to pick it up. Alert the driver of the situation and wait for them to tell you it is safe to retrieve the item.