How to Prevent a School Bus Accident

December 16, 2021 Posted In Car Accidents

It is 70 times safer for students to ride a bus to school, but accidents still happen. When they do, a collision can be catastrophic, especially for the other vehicle involved because of the sheer size and weight of a bus. When sharing the road with school buses, here are some tips on how to prevent an accident in San Bernardino

Stop When the School Bus Stops

Under California law, motorists must stop when a school bus stops in front of them and extends its stop sign with flashing lights. The law also states that: 

  • When a school bus stops on a two-lane road, drivers going both directions must come to a complete stop.
  • When a two-lane road has a center turn lane, both sides of traffic must stop when a school bus stops.\
  • On four-lane roads with at least two lanes moving in the opposite direction, only motorists going in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.

Additionally, motorists must stop at least 20 feet from the bus when the red lights are flashing, and the stop arm is extended. Bus drivers have the right to report a driver who illegally passes a bus within 24 hours of the incident, which can result in a fine of up to $600. 

Slow Down

If you are following a school bus, keep your distance and slow down. School buses often make frequent stops, and you may not be able to stop in time if you are following too closely. If you were to rear-end it, not only would it cause extensive damage to your vehicle, but there are often small children on buses that don’t wear seatbelts, and they could be pushed forward. 

Be Patient

Never try to pass a bus when it is illegal to do so. If you pass them unexpectedly or on a two-lane highway, the bus driver may have to make a sudden maneuver that increases the chances of a collision. If you have a lane to pass and the bus has not come to a complete stop, use your signal and give the bus driver ample time to see you and your intentions. Keep in mind, buses are heavy and take much longer to stop, so never cut in front of a bus after passing it. 

Always Be Observant

Look out for any children waiting for or stepping off the bus. Especially when you are passing a bus, even if your vehicle is on the other side of the road, since children can dart into the street unexpectedly. If you are distracted, you may not see a child, or to avoid an accident, you might lose control of your vehicle. Remain observant and focused on the road. The types of distractions that commonly take a driver’s eyes or mind off the road, or hands off the wheel, include: 

  • Texting or talking on the phone 
  • Speaking to passengers 
  • Reaching for an item in the backseat
  • Eating or drinking
  • Using a GPS or electronic devices
  • Changing the music 
  • Adjusting the air conditioning 
  • Pets in the vehicle

Avoid Blind Spots

School buses have several blind spots because of their size. Keep a distance of further than 10 feet when driving directly behind one or on the sides just behind where the driver sits. Any closer and the bus driver may not be able to see you, which can create a dangerous situation if the bus needs to merge or change lanes. Contact a Riverside bus accident attorney for additional information.

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