Back-to-school means drivers must be alert

With everyone going back to school, there are a few things drivers need to look out for in order to be safe on the road. One thing to consider is school busses picking up and dropping off children. “When the bus stops, all traffic has to stop unless the road is divided by a median or boulevard even on a four lane highway,” Sheriff Mike Tubbs said. The National Safety Council gives these proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses: All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children.Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus. All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus. The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus. Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street. Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences. Another thing to think about is traffic congestion in and around schools during school hours especially during drop-off and pick-up times. This can increase driving time for those going to work in the morning and coming home in the afternoon. It is advisable that these drivers be aware of this and try and leave earlier in the morning and be patient in the afternoons. “Exercise caution in school zones,” Tubbs said. “There are higher fines for speeding and usually a court appearance is required.” Officers will be out monitoring school zones during school hours to make sure that drivers are obeying the speed limit. “Drivers need to be mindful of times and mindful of school zones,” Tubbs said. “We want everybody to have a safe and productive school year.”