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Transportation Safety Tips

Steps for Keeping Our Students Safe To and From School

Everyone has a responsibility to help ensure the safety of child pedestrians. Unfortunately, many children are injured—or even killed—when proper safety precautions are ignored on their way to and from school. These tragedies often occur near their own home when they are getting on or off their school bus.

School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation, but getting on and off the bus is the most dangerous part of the school bus ride. That’s why the loading and unloading area is called the “Danger Zone.” This area—which extends 10 feet in front of the bus, 10 feet on each side of the bus, and behind the bus—is where children are at greatest risk of not being seen by the bus driver. Children need to be taught how to get on and off the school bus safely.

The following information is provided to empower you as a parent, guardian or motorist to educate yourself and your children on transportation safety tips.

Safety Tips for Parents

Child safety begins with the parents. Not only should young children be supervised at all times when around traffic, but parents should teach their children proper safety through example. Explain and show your children how to cross streets safely by stopping at the curb, checking left-right-left for traffic in all directions, and only crossing when traffic is clear. Be sure to praise your children when they follow these rules so they are encouraged to do so each time.

Other tips parents can take to ensure their child’s safety include:

  • Dressing children in bright, easily seen clothing and adding reflective marks to book bags and backpacks
  • Make sure students have book bags or backpacks that can carry all their items so they don’t endanger themselves trying to pick up dropped items
  • Ensure your child is at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus should arrive so they are not running to catch the bus
  • Teach your child to behave properly while riding the bus so the bus driver is not distracted

Safety Tips for Students

Children face a wide variety of dangers on their way to and from school, whether they walk, bike, or ride the bus. Teaching children the safety steps below will help them travel safely.

  • Always walk with a parent, guardian, or friend—never alone.
  • Use the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic so you can see any cars coming.
  • Always cross at an intersection or crosswalk. Obey traffic signals at intersections with traffic lights.
  • If riding a bike, always wear a helmet and follow traffic safety rules. Let cars and pedestrians go by first, and walk your bike through intersections.
  • When waiting on the bus, get to the stop at least five minutes early and stand 10 steps away from the curb.
  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop, the doors to open, and the driver to give you the OK before trying to step onto the bus.
  • Always walk at least 10 steps away from the bus, and never walk behind the bus.
  • While on the bus, stay fully seated at all times and facing forward. You should never stand while the bus is moving.
  • Obey the driver at all times and follow all bus rules. Speak quietly and do not throw things—this can distract the bus driver.

Safety Tips for Motorists

Drivers should take extra precautions when driving through school zones or in areas where school buses are present. Young children often have a hard time seeing motorists due to their small size so it is the responsibility of the driver to be on alert.

Children have difficulty judging the speed and distance of cars and may think they have enough time to cross the street when they actually do not. Because of this, motorists should drive slowly around areas where children are present, such as playgrounds and schools, and be ready for a child to dart in front of them at any time.

Though these are part of driving laws, it is always good to be reminded of the following traffic rules:

  • When turning left at a green light or right on red, look for pedestrians as well as cars. Pedestrians always have the right of way in these situations.
  • Avoid using a cell phone in and around school zones. Texting and talking can affect your ability to react quickly.
  • Slow down and prepare to stop when a school zone has the amber traffic lights flashing. Speeding through school zones can result in a hefty fine.
  • Stop at least 20 feet from a school bus traveling in either direction when the bus is stopped with the red lights flashing.