5 school bus safety rules for motorists

You probably come across school buses every day while driving, but do you know the rules that apply when you’re travelling near a school bus? Here are a few reminders from the La Capitale blog that can help prevent accidents and auto insurance claims.

In 2015-2016, 10,370 school buses and minibuses were on Quebec roads, each day transporting about 520,000 students. That’s about 60% of Quebec’s 870,912 preschool, elementary and high school students.

While school transportation is still very safe, it’s important to be reminded of certain basic rules. In the rush of everyday life, various factors can distract motorists.

On the road

1. 4 amber lights activated

If the four amber lights are activated, the bus is about to stop to let students on or off (or because it is at a railway crossing). You must slow down and prepare to stop.

2. Red lights flashing and stop arm extended

When the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, you must bring your vehicle to a full stop more than 5 metres (16 feet) in front of or behind the school bus, when behind the bus or travelling in the opposite direction.

3. Passing a school bus

If you pass a school bus with activated flashing lights, you could incur up to 9 demerit points and get a $200 – $300 fine. Other costs may also apply.

4. Roadway divided by a median

If you encounter a bus on a divided roadway, you are not required to stop, because the median provides some protection.

5. School zone signs

Use extra caution when you see traffic signs in school zones. They are there to remind you of expected driver behaviour, the applicable speed limit and school crossings.

Near the school and in the schoolyard

The 40% of students who don’t take a bus to get to school probably walk or get a ride with their parents. For that reason, it’s important to be alert when driving through a school zone, especially during peak school hours.

Parents who drive up to the schoolyard must be especially vigilant. Little kids who are standing between two parked cars may be hard to see.

There are things that you, as a motorist, can do to help keep children safe when driving through a school zone or when travelling near a school bus. If you are also a parent, regularly review with your children the safety rules that they should follow in and around the bus.

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