School bus safety tips
Even though the school year is well under way, it is always important to remind our children about school bus safety. As a father of four boys and a licensed school bus driver who helps drive students to field trips and athletic events, I think about this topic often. I recently came across tips for school bus safety from the Indiana State Police, and I thought that I would share some with you this week.
To keep kids from dropping their belongings on the way to the bus stop, have them put everything they will need for the day in their backpack or school bag. On that note, if they do drop something near the bus, let them know that they should alert the bus driver and follow the bus driver’s directions. Also, have them secure any loose drawstrings that may get caught in the handrail or door of the bus before they exit.
You have probably noticed that it has been darker in the mornings lately. Early mornings can also be especially foggy in our area so a piece of high visibility fluorescent or reflective material on their backpack will help cars see them as they walk to the bus stop or while they are waiting for the bus. Encourage them to leave the house a little earlier to catch the bus – that will keep them from having to run to the bus stop, which can be dangerous.
Because there is safety in numbers, if at all possible, try to set up a way for neighborhood kids to walk together to the bus stop. Groups are easier to spot for drivers. If they have to walk in the street, remind them to walk single file and face traffic while staying as close to the edge of the road as possible. Standing at the school bus stop can get boring, but please insist that they do not run around or play any shoving games while they wait for the bus and to remain about three giant steps from the road.
Most importantly, teach children to look to the right before they step off the bus. Some drivers who are in a hurry try to sneak by buses on the right. It is also important that students wait for the bus driver to signal that it is safe for them to cross the street.
School bus rides can get chaotic, so remind your children to speak quietly, be courteous and follow the bus driver’s directions. Encourage them to also stay seated and keep the aisles clear.
I hope your children have enjoyed the first couple months of the school year and that these tips will help them stay safe while they are getting to and from the classroom.