What You Need to Know About Driving With School Buses
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The first day of school is approaching and with it comes the reappearance of school buses.
Sharing the road with school buses means being prepared to stop and watching out for children crossing the road.
As many know, school buses have blinking lights to warn other motorists of their next move, but those lights do not all mean the same thing.
Nathan Rowen, Interim Supervisor at the Holt Transportation Center, says knowing the difference between the various lights can help keep everyone safe.
"When the hazard lights are on and the bus is pulled over, usually it's on a multi-lane street, you can actually go around the bus slowly," Rowen said. "Alternating flashers that are yellow, means the bus is approaching a stop, they will change to red, and the stop arm will come out and at that point motorists need to stop."
Jason Redoutey, owner of Mr. R's Driving School, explains that if there are red lights but you do not see a red stop sign on the side of the bus, you still need to stop.
"Red lights on top mean stop," Redoutey said. "We do a little rap in class about that."
Lights will turn on about 100 feet before a turn and 200 feet before a stop.
Redoutey compared school buses to a moving traffic light, and says if you have doubts be prepared to stop.
"If you're on the opposite side of a divided roadway' that is the only time that you wouldn't be stopping for a school bus with the red lights flashing," Redoutey explained.
In addition to knowing when to stop, there are other safety precautions that Rowen says can help keep everyone safe. For example, he explains that if your child can touch the bus while waiting to board, they are too close.
"If your kids miss the bus don't chase the bus down because the driver can only see two feet down the side of the bus," Rowen said. "We've had instances where kids come from an angle and the driver will never see them."
Rowen and Redoutey shared the same final piece of advice; pay attention.
"Know when you look, where you look, how you look, and what you look for," Redoutey said.