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School bus safety a two-way street

by Sgt. Neil Dickenson
of the Minnesota State Patrol
With school starting this will be entirely focused on the safety of the most precious cargo in the world – our children. Traffic safety is a two-way street and everyone has an investment.
School Bus Safety Tips for Motorists:
• 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.
School Bus Safety Tips for Children:
Parents should discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus:
• 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.

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