Be Smart: Teaching Kids to Stay School-Bus Safe


School buses are essential modes of transportation, taking thousands of students to and from school every day. While school bus accidents are rare, riders should still practice safety aboard and around the bus.

In the early days of education, students were educated in local schools within walking distance. If they needed to travel, it was by horse-drawn wagon. As the nation's roadways began to evolve, so did the methods of getting children to school. Eventually school buses became the norm.

In an effort to prevent injuries, representatives from 48 states met in 1939 to establish safety standards for school buses. Since then, several meetings, known as the National Conferences on School Transportation, have taken place to modify safety procedures and standards.

In addition to safety procedures regarding ridership, school buses are built with certain standards in mind. Mirrors, lights, braking systems and the like are regulated to provide the utmost safety to passengers. While catastrophic accidents involving school buses are very rare, buses are built to handle much more than the occasional run-ins with passenger cars and light trucks.

Maintaining school bus safety is a team effort. Students need to do their part while riding the bus. Here are the safety precautions that should be followed.

* Walk to the bus stop, don't run.

* Always use caution when crossing roadways.

* Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If no sidewalk is present, walk in the opposite direction of traffic to be aware of on-coming traffic.

* Don't fool around at the bus stop. Accidents can happen when individuals are unaware of their surroundings or distracted.

* Stand at the bus stop in a safe location. Do not enter the street.

* Arrive at the bus stop early so there is no need to rush and be distracted.

* Wait for the school bus to come to a complete stop and for other traffic to halt before approaching the bus.

* Promptly take a seat, and remain seated throughout the entire ride. If there are safety belts present, use them.

* Do not distract the bus driver with loud yelling, music, etc.

* Don't throw anything around the bus.

* Keep the aisle clear to avoid tripping hazards.

* Follow the driver's instructions in the event of an emergency.

* Remain seated until the bus has stopped at a particular drop-off location.

* When exiting the bus, take three steps away from the bus so that visibility of the driver is improved.

* Watch for traffic when crossing the street. Always cross in front of the bus.

* If something is forgotten on the bus, don't try to run back and retrieve it. The driver may not expect a student to be returning to the bus.


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