Safety at Bus Stops

While waiting at bus stops to get on the school bus in the morning is very common, it can be a dangerous practice. Bus stops are near the roadway where the buses stop for the children to board, so the children are close to passing vehicles. Some school children are as young as four or five, so it can be a particularly dangerous for them.

Children should be taught the basics about how to stay safe while waiting at the bus stop. Younger children, usually those younger than 10, should be accompanied by an adult until they board the bus.

Tips for Staying Safe While Walking to the Bus

Not all students have a bus stop in front of their home. Many of these children must walk to a bus stop to wait for the bus. These children need to know how to stay safe while walking to the location where they catch the bus.

Here are some tips for being safe while walking to catch the bus:

  • Walking on the edge of the road increases the risk of being struck by a passing vehicle, so whenever it is possible, students should walk on the sidewalk.
  • When students need to cross the street, they should only cross where there is a crosswalk. Students should only cross the street after making sure there are no passing cars and after confirming all vehicles have stopped to let them go across the street.
  • Even when using sidewalks and crosswalks, students should stay alert and be aware of the traffic traveling around them. Drivers could be distracted, and they might swerve off the road or drive faster than they should.
  • Students should be taught that they should make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street, so they know the driver has seen them.
  • Make sure children know to watch for vehicles that are turning or that are backing up.
  • Younger children should be accompanied by an adult or by a responsible teenager who can help them follow proper protocol and stay safe when crossing the street or walking near traffic.

Tips for Staying Safe While Waiting for the Bus

After the students have reached the bus stop, they need to do everything that they can to stay safe. Here are a few tips to help keep children safe while they are waiting at the bus stop:

  • Students who are waiting on the bus should stand at least six feet back from the road. That way they are away from passing vehicles and they are far enough back so that if they trip, they won’t fall onto the roadway.
  • While waiting for the bus, children should be attentive to traffic. They should not get too distracted by playing with friends or electronics to notice cars heading toward them, so that they can jump out of the way if necessary.
  • If it is cloudy or not completely daylight when children are waiting for the bus, they should use extra precautions to make sure they are noticed by passing cars. Reflective tape on backpacks, reflectors on shoes, bright clothing, and holding a flashlight while waiting on the bus will help students be seen by motorists.
  • Parents of small children should wait with their students until the bus arrives and the children have boarded.

Tips for Staying Safe When Boarding the Bus

When the bus arrives, students should board it properly and use care to avoid accidents. Here are a few tips for safely boarding the bus:

  • When the bus arrives, wait until it comes to a complete stop, its stop sign is out to stop all traffic, and the door has opened before walking toward it.
  • Walk, don’t run, to the bus.
  • Never cross the street behind the bus. Always cross in front of it.
  • If students must cross the street to board the bus, wait until the bus driver has waved or let them know that it is safe to board the bus.
  • Parents of small children should walk their children to the bus and help them to board.

The Importance of Bus Stop Safety

School bus stop safety is important. According to Schoolbus Fleet, four children were killed while loading and unloading buses during the 2015-16 school year. Three of the four deaths involved children ages five or younger. Three of those deaths occurred after the child was struck by a school bus while the fourth death happened when the teen crossing the road was hit by a passing car that did not stop despite the bus having its stop sign engaged.

With the proper safety measures in place and with students having the proper training, the number of accidents at school bus stops can decrease significantly. Even older children and teenagers need to be reminded of the importance of staying safe when heading to the bus stop, waiting for the bus, and loading and unloading the bus.

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