There was an investigative report on KXAS-TV (NBC5 in Dallas/Fort Worth) that really got many of us talking around the Eberstein Witherite water cooler. The focus of the piece was about how Dallas County Schools have spent more than $2.3 million settling “hundreds of claims involving school bus accidents in the last three years.”
While car wrecks and truck wrecks will happen, unfortunately, having a particular amount of awareness and vigilance around school buses is also necessary when on the road. There are hundreds of children on local roads every morning and afternoon, which is why awareness is so important – namely for school buses. These large vehicles – and its drivers – require heightened awareness and better defensive driving from each of us.
On behalf of everyone at Eberstein Witherite, we believe the only thing better than keeping life running for our clients involved in a car wreck or truck wreck, is not being involved in an accident and not having to need our services in the first place.
Here are 4 helpful tips to stay safe while driving around school buses:
- Know the Colors. Most drivers know when a school bus stretches out its stop sign, they need to comply for the safety of the children on-board. However, some of those buses don’t have the glaring sign reminder for drivers. Flashing red lights is the same as that stop sign. When you see red, pretend your car is turned off . (At least when we share that wisdom, it tends to stick.) Don’t creep up to a bus or assume if you don’t see students getting off, it’s okay to pass. Likewise, when you see flashing yellow lights, that bus is about to stop for a good reason. Just tap the brakes and let the bus do its job before you determine how important your personal schedule really is.
- Understand Your Defense. We’ve all received traffic tickets (yes, even attorneys) and what is the one life preserver from having your rates go up? Defensive Driving. While those classes are known for being the timesuck of your weekend, they are really important points of reference for drivers everywhere. Particularly around school buses and its precious cargo, we need to be defensive around the local school bus and its many stops. You know your neighborhood and where the school zones are located. To avoid a car or truck wreck with a school bus, we need to be as cautious as most school bus drivers.
- Share the Road. The National Safety Council shares “most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking.” From an errant car wreck or even a distracted school bus driver, these dangerous possibilities are seconds away. It’s important to know when those school zone lights are blaring, drivers should be on high alert and aware of their surroundings. Stray from the possible car wreck and truck wreck by understand we are sharing community streets with a school bus and children who may not know you are even there.
- Watch for Children. This is easily the most important task for both the frequent passer-by driver and the school bus driver. The children are the reason we are having this conversation and the aforementioned report. Staying alert of your surroundings while in your car or truck goes without saying; yet, it is usually questioned when someone has been in a wreck. Specifically in school zones, the phone can wait, your food can be nibbled on later, and don’t worry about being in a rush. Five minutes of patience is worth much more than exchanging information in a collision.
Whether the conversation around our water cooler is personal injury or motor vehicle accidents, our focus is all about how to keep life running. If we can keep life running with a few friendly tips for bus drivers, children, and the rest of us, then we can all benefit.