By State Farm™ Agent Timothy B Hopkins
As summer comes to a close and the leaves begin to turn, children across the country are packing up their backpacks and returning to school. And with the beginning of the fall semester, you may start to see that old familiar vehicle – the school bus – cruising the roads and highways again.
Here are some tips for drivers who share the roads with school buses, as well as some easy lessons to teach your kids about bus stop safety.

Driving Near Buses
Follow these tips to help protect the children when you drive.
Keep an especially close eye on students as they’re getting on and off the bus – stragglers might run! The most dangerous part of the trip, for kids, is getting on and off the bus.
Be alert and SLOW DOWN if you’re near a bus. There’s never a good enough reason to speed, and it’s downright careless when there are children nearby.
Do not pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload students. All states have laws that tell you under what circumstances you can and cannot pass a stopped school bus. Most buses actually have stop signs that display when children are getting on and off the bus. In general, it does not begin to move after until the bus’ red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins to move.
Know and understand traffic laws and speed limits near a school bus and schools. Oftentimes, the laws change during school hours.

Teach Your Children
Help take the danger out of the trip to and from school by instructing children about school bus stop safety.
The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends children should:
Wait away from the roadway and board only when the bus has come to a complete stop.
When crossing in front of the bus, walk at least 10 steps away from the bus so the driver can see them.
Never walk behind the bus. Drivers might lose sight of kids in their blind spots.
Visit National Safety Council for more school bus safety information.

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