(Photo credit Metro Creative Connection)

School bus season is upon us

A new school year has started, and motorists across Canada are reminded to adjust their driving habits accordingly.

“Patience, extra attentiveness and situational knowledge go a long way toward keeping our roads safe for everyone,” said Gareth Jones, president of the Canada Safety Council. “It’s our responsibility as conscientious road users to make sure that nobody is unnecessarily put in harm’s way.”

School Bus Safety Tips

Especially in the context of young children, it’s not always easy to predict their behaviours. A child who is running to catch their bus may dart out in traffic unexpectedly, which makes defensive driving crucial. Drive at an appropriate speed, be aware of the child’s presence and be prepared to stop suddenly.

The same holds for school buses themselves. It is against the law to pass a school bus when its red signal lights are flashing regardless of the direction in which you are coming, although an exception is made for oncoming traffic on a median-divided highway. If you notice a school bus approaching, do a quick scan of the area to see if any children are waiting nearby, and be prepared to stop if the bus’ signal lights come on. A school bus is also required to stop at all railway crossings.

Other Modes of Transportation

Transportation of children by a school bus is one of the most effective and safest methods of travel, but many students take an alternate mode of transit. Whether they’re arriving at school by bicycle, by foot, by public transportation or by being driven in a family vehicle, patience and vigilance continue to be essential.

Be mindful of the potential for an increased presence of vulnerable road users, especially at crosswalks, on the roadways and in school zones. By being aware of your surroundings, you allow yourself the necessary time to react if they behave unpredictably.

As with most road safety-related topics, it’s through patience and constant attention to our surroundings that we’re best able to do our part in keeping roads safe across the country. Remember to do your part and help children arrive at school safe and sound.

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