Editorial - Will you pass or fail the back-to-school driving test?Students aren’t the only ones who should be ready to start doing their homework again. Drivers also need to brush up on their skills. With schools about to begin another year, drivers need to keep a closer eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists on their way to school.
Students aren’t the only ones who should be ready to start doing their homework again.
Drivers also need to brush up on their skills.
With schools about to begin another year, drivers need to keep a closer eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists on their way to school.
They also must be mindful of the big yellow buses that they’re sharing the road with.
School buses make at least 10,000 school bus trips daily in Minnesota. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for children; children are eight times safer riding in a bus to school than any other vehicles.
But safety doesn’t happen automatically. It takes a combined conscious effort from drivers, parents and children.
The public information trooper for our area, Sergeant Jesse Grabow, addressed the topic in his “Ask a Trooper” column this week. When a person asked for his advice on school bus safety, Grabow said he was glad to do so because he feels the topic is one of the most important issues related to traffic safety because it pertains directly to the world’s most precious cargo – children.
Parents, Grabow noted, should discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus. He offered this advice:
--When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road).
--Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen.
--Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
--Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.
Grabow offered these safety tips for drivers:
--Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and/or its stop arm is extended when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
--Red flashing lights on buses indicates students are either entering or exiting the bus.
--Motorists are not required to stop for a bus if the bus is on the opposite side of a separated roadway (median, etc.), but they should remain alert for children.
--Altering a route or schedule to avoid a bus is one way motorists can help improve safety. In doing so, motorists won’t find themselves behind a bus and as a result, potentially putting children at risk.
--Watch for school crossing patrols and pedestrians. Reduce speeds in and around school zones.
--Watch and stop for pedestrians — the law applies to all street corners, for both marked and unmarked crosswalks (all street corners) —every corner is a crosswalk.
Grabow concluded that the most important thing to remember whether you are a motorist or a pedestrian: Pay attention!
For our children’s safety, make sure you pass the test.