With September comes a sudden boost in school buses on Georgia roads. School buses can definitely impact the normal flow of traffic, thanks to their bulky size and shape, frequent stops, and lower speeds. However, they carry precious cargo—and that means it is even more important to avoid collisions.
Fortunately, there’s a lot that regular drivers can do to avoid school bus accidents and make roads safer for everyone. Learn more now, and if you’ve been injured in a crash, call The Stein Firm at 770-824-3107.
Understanding School Bus Signals
School buses use a variety of lights and signals to communicate with drivers around them. Bus drivers use these signals to maintain the flow of traffic and avoid unnecessary issues. When a school bus flashes its yellow lights, that means that it is preparing to stop so it can load or unload students. This is not the time to zoom around them and try to beat the stop sign; this is the time to slow down and back off.
A bus’s flashing red lights, stop sign, and extended arm all indicate a stop to load or unload students. In Georgia, a stopped bus means that vehicles approaching from both directions must stop. This is also true for multi-lane roads that are paved across. However, on divided highways with medians, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop.
Unsure if a bus is stopped for students? If you’re approaching a bus and it appears to be stopped but does not have its lights on or stop sign out, approach with caution. The bus may have a mechanical issue or the driver may have forgotten to extend the stop sign arm. There’s still a very real chance that students will approach or leave the bus, and stopping ensures that you avoid an accident.
Safe Driving Practices Near School Buses
Just a few small adjustments to your driving habits can help you stay safe around buses and protect your town’s students. First, always maintain a safe following distance. Remember that buses have much larger blind spots than smaller vehicles, and following too closely means that the driver may be unable to see you. Additionally, following too closely means that you may be unable to see when the bus driver extends the stop sign or turns on their flashing lights.
Be patient. School buses have to stop frequently and tailgating them or honking out of frustration will not make them go any faster. All it does is irritate the bus driver and increase the likelihood of a collision.
Do not pass a school bus when it is stopped or coming to a stop. You may think you’re saving yourself a few minutes on your commute, but you’re really just making it far more likely that you hit a student. Additionally, know that most buses are equipped with dashcams. Once the bus driver submits their video footage to the police, you’ll likely be hit with a big fine and points on your license.
Staying Alert When School Starts and Ends
Avoiding accidents doesn’t just mean being safe around school buses. It also means being aware of school schedules in your area and planning accordingly. If you know that you leave for work at the same time that roads are clogged with school buses, make a point of leaving five to ten minutes early. Be aware of other vehicles that may be stopping to pick up or drop off other students.
You should also keep an eye out for crossing guards and walking students. Crossing guards may require you to stop unexpectedly, so drive slowly enough that you can stop safely. Children can act unpredictably when they are excited to get home, which means you should slow down and always be prepared for a child to dart onto the road.
Injured in a Bus Accident? Choose The Stein Firm, P.C.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a bus accident, it’s time to find out how the team at The Stein Firm can help you. Schedule a consultation now by contacting us online or calling us at 770-824-3107.