It’s back-to-school season in Virginia! And in addition to the leaves starting to change colors and the temperature starting to cool, the school buses are back on our roadways.
Of course, whether you are a parent or not, the safety of our school children is something we are all concerned about.
If you are a driver, understanding best practices for driving cautiously around school buses and children making their way to and from school is essential. Here are some tips and information about driving cautiously with school buses on the road:
- Know the Rules
The first thing that you should do is familiarize yourself with the rules for driving around school buses. You must stop for a school bus when:
- You are approaching a school bus and the bus has flashing signals and/or an extended stop sign; or
- You are approaching a school bus and the bus is loading and unloading children.
- You do nothave to stop if you are approaching a school bus, even if it has its flashing light on, if you are traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus and there is a physical barrier/median separating the roadways.
- Drive Defensively
School buses are big vehicles, and there is no doubt that being stuck behind one that is making constant stops or traveling slowly can be frustrating. However, responding by driving aggressively is never appropriate. Aggressive driving is extremely dangerous, and increases the risk of an accident.
Instead of driving aggressively, drive defensively. This means anticipating school bus stops, allowing for plenty of room between your vehicle and the school bus, making safe lane changes, staying out of a school bus driver’s blind spots, and remembering that school buses need extra time to stop.
- Exercise Extra Caution When Children Are Entering or Exiting the School Bus
Just stopping for a school bus that has its stop sign extended or flashing lights on or is unloading or loading children is not enough; you need to be aware of the fact that children often do not look both ways when crossing the street, and therefore it is up to you to make sure that they get there safely. Before you proceed, make sure that all children have safely reached the sidewalk. Remember that children are often unpredictable and they can dart out into the middle of the road when you are least expecting it. Anticipating this could save a life.
- Practice General Safe Driving Strategies
Of course, there are few safe driving dos and don’ts that you should adhere to regardless of who else is on the road. These include:
- Always drive sober– If you have taken an impairing medication, drug, or have had an alcoholic beverage, don’t get behind the wheel.
- Put distractions away – Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things that you can do, and is a top cause of accidents across the country. When you get behind the wheel, commit to putting your cellphone out of sight and focusing on the act of driving.
- Follow the speed limit – You should never drive faster than the speed limit. In fact, there are many situations where you should drive slowerthan the speed limit, such as when the weather is poor, there is heavy traffic, or visibility is impaired.
- Follow all other posted traffic laws – Finally, adhere to other laws of the road as they pertain to stopping, yielding, changing lanes, turning, and more.
Following a School Bus Accident, You Need a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer
Whether you are involved in an accident that results from a negligent school bus driver hitting your vehicle, or if you are a parent of a child who is injured in a school bus accident, you will need an experienced Virginia attorney following a collision. At the law offices of St. John, Bowling, Lawrence & Quagliana, LLP, we have been representing those injured in accidents in Virginia for several years. In fact, our lawyers have over 110 years of combined legal experience.
If a school bus accident has left you, a loved one, or your child seriously injured, please call us directly at 434-296-7138, send us a message, or visit our Charlottesville office in person.