Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another School Year Begins

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer / Consultant, Evergreen Safety Council

The end of August means that many school districts are commencing the new school year. As I type this I'm envisioning my granddaughter, standing by the side of the road, waiting for the school bus to start her first day in the first grade. Although there are nearly 3000 miles separating us, the vision is very clear, as I know she's excitedly talking with her friends, comparing new school clothes, backpacks and lunch boxes.
All of us who drive, are affected by the opening of school, whether we have school age children or not. We need to be especially alert when passing though school zones or driving on streets where kids are in-route to school. As fall approaches, it is getting darker in the morning as sunrise comes later and later with the advancing seasons.

Most of us encounter school buses in our travels, and most of us may not be certain of what we should do in a given situation; which cars must stop when a school bus deploys its stop paddle and turns on its flashing red lights?

The Washington State Driver's Guide gives us the solution: When the red paddle and lights are deployed, all cars must stop, in either direction.

There is an exception: cars do not need to stop if the bus is in the opposite lanes, and
  • there are three or more marked traffic lanes,
  • the roadway is divided by a median,
  • the roadway is separated by a physical barrier.
Lets all do our best to keep the kids safe!

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