School is back in session, which means school buses will be on the road and children will be walking to and from school. In order to keep everyone safe there are laws in place that prioritize safe driving. Pay attention to these safety tips for drivers, because they will keep you and those around you safe, especially our youth.
School bus law of Indiana
School bus laws differ from state to state, but in Indiana the state law requires drivers to stop when there is a school bus picking up or dropping off kids. This is not a suggestion. You must stop when a school bus has its stop sign extended on the side of the bus and its red lights are flashing. Do not drive slowly next to the bus--stop immediately and let the children load or leave the school bus.
Sharing the road with others
Not only is it imperative that you pay attention on the road for the sake of school buses and children, but you should be cautious while sharing the road with everyone! This includes other motorists, pedestrians, buses of all kinds and cyclists. When you get behind the wheel you have a duty to protect yourself and those around you. You can start by eliminating distracted driving.
Sharing the road with pedestrians
While driving, pay attention to road signs, construction zones and pedestrian crossing areas. These are areas in which you will most likely encounter a pedestrian. Some pedestrians will be paying attention while others may rely on you, the driver, to be watching out for them.
The best way to prevent accidents between drivers and pedestrians are for both parties, the driver and the pedestrian, to pay attention while driving and walking by or on a road. Encourage family members to put their phones down while driving and while walking across the street. This will remove an additional distraction that could result in the unexpected.
Sharing the road with buses
Not only should you be aware of school buses while driving on the road, but also be cautious of city buses, trollies (depending on your area), shuttles and more. If you are located near a city, public transportation is likely to be in your area. There is public transportation signage that alerts drivers of bus stops, bus lanes and other information they need to know while sharing the road with buses.
As you read these safety tips for all drivers, please note that there are more tips that you can find online or by visiting the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles website. There are driver safety programs that you can sign up for that will teach you more about the rules of the road.
Sharing the road with cyclists
Another area of caution you should be aware of while behind the wheel is sharing the road with cyclists. More individuals are taking a break from their vehicles and dusting off their bikes to commute to and from work and school. Cyclists can share the main road with drivers and because of this, both drivers and cyclists must pay attention on the road.
Pay attention to bike lanes while driving, and if you do get behind a cyclist give them an ample amount of room between them and your car. If you are the cyclist and you are commuting on main roads, always wear a helmet and pay close attention to drivers while riding your bike. Remember cyclists should follow the rules of the road. Mark your calendars for Car Free Day / Bike to Work Day on September 22. Downtown Indy has created this event to encourage commuters to change it up and bike to work instead of driving!
Driving in school zones
There are many tips while driving through a school zone, but there are specific ones that you must pay close attention to:
Don’t wait to slow down in a school zone until you see people, just slow down!
Find out where the school zones are in your area.
Be aware of pedestrians when you see a crosswalk on the road.
If a bus has its stop sign up and its red lights flashing, stop.
Help stay safe and encourage undistracted driving while behind the wheel.
Again, this is just a short list of safety tips for drivers while driving in school zones. There is more information out there about school zone safety.
Many people you speak to will tell you just how busy they are. They will fill you in on family events, heavy workloads, busy school schedules and just how much they have going on in their lives. We all have extremely busy schedules, but that is no excuse for poor driving habits. When you get behind a wheel you have a responsibility to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Driving distracted is one of the major reasons why auto accidents happen on the road. Someone may be looking at their phone, changing to a different song, helping their child, eating or trying to retrieve an item from between the seats. These are all things that can wait until you are not driving. Put down your phone, choose a playlist before putting your car into drive, explain to your kids that you are driving and cannot turn around to assist them, eat after you arrive and leave the item between the seat until you are fully in park.
As your teenager reaches the legal driving age, it is important to educate them on how to avoid accidents and if they are involved in one, how they may need to deal with it. This teenager safety guide is loaded with essential information a young or inexperienced driver must acknowledge while behind the wheel. Any driver choosing to not abide by these safety tips could result in an accident that may have been preventable.
No matter if school is back in session or not, your focus on the road should always be the same. Pay attention to all zones, pedestrians and street signage while on the road to ensure that the roads are safe for everyone.
*The information in this article was compiled from a variety of sources and is intended to provide helpful tips only.