Safely Approaching, Exiting School Buses Key To Avoiding Accidents
School buses date back to the invention of the automobile, and while a lot has changed in the past century, they remain the safest means of transportation for the nation’s students.
“Students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends,” according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration infographic. “But did you also know that your child is much safer riding the bus than being driven by you?”
One percent of student fatalities occur while riding the bus compared to 23 percent while riding with an adult driver and 58 percent with a teen driver. But the large yellow vehicle that is now a traffic icon isn’t with its hazards, the majority if which involve getting off and on it.
Bus safety is a priority at SaferCar.gov, an NHTSA affiliate that offers tips on how to take advantage of the opportunity to ride the school bus and a list of dos and don’ts. First, students should get to the bus stop early so they are not running across the street to catch it. Parents of younger children should walk them to the bus stop and show them where to wait for it. Secondly, children should be taught to board the bus only after it comes to a complete stop and the driver opens the door and indicates it is safe to climb in.
“Even safer than riding in your own vehicle, riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school,” SaferCar.gov writes on its Web site, where it provide parents and children with resources including activities, a safety game and videos.
Allstate Insurance Co. also writes about bus-safety and advises students to take heed of the following warnings:
- Keep a safe distance (10 feet) from the bus when walking in front of it, and make sure there is eye contact with the driver.
- Never approach a bus by walking behind it. Always cross in front of it.
- Horseplay near the bus and at the bus stop is dangerous and can lead to accidents and injuries, or worse.
- Don’t dally when boarding the bus. If a backpack or book is dropped, alert the driver before bending down to retrieve it.