As fall approaches we need to remind ourselves of some safety issues that come with warm days and nights, but a loss of daylight. Fall is the time of year that has the highest occurrence of accidents involving motorists and pedestrians. Low light contributes to this, so we need to be extra careful as daylight vanishes. Also, school buses will be on the roads and we need to ensure that we are observing traffic laws as it relates to school buses and yielding to pedestrians. This is also the time of year that deer become active. Share these tips and reminders with young drivers as well to be alert this fall.
School Bus Safety - Keeping Children Safe
School buses are the safest mode of transportation for children - the mass of the bus is designed to take the bulk of the crash force, and they are also less likely to roll over. The inside of the buss is designed as an egg carton with strong, closely spaced seats, energy-absorbing seat backs, and padded seats.
The biggest safety concern is for children OUTSIDE of the bus. That's why motorists need to stop and stay back from buses when the red flashing lights are operating. This means kids are entering or exiting the bus and likely trying to cross streets or in front of the bus where they are not easily seen.
Altering a route or schedule to avoid a bus in one way motorists can help improve safety. In doing so, motorists won't find themselves behind a bus, and as a result, won't be putting children at potential risk.
Reminders for school children:
- When getting off the bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder or side of the road
- Before crossing the street, take five "giant steps" out from the front of the bus, or until the bus 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
Parents also play a vital role in bus safety by teaching their children what to do around buses:
- How to cross safely
- The importance to stay back from the road while waiting for the bus
- The importance of making eye contact with the driver before crossing the street to ensure the driver sees them
Pedestrian/vehicles crashes can be avoided. Pedestrians can ensure their safety by:
- Crossing at a corner, a marked cross walk, or where a traffic light is present
- Pay attention, look both ways before crossing, and make eye contact with drivers before entering the road to ensure the driver sees you
- Never cross in the middle of the road or walk down an interstate
- Wear bright colored clothing when walking or running at night
Motorists must treat every corner as a crosswalk and stop for crossing pedestrians at all corners and crosswalks whether marked or unmarked - it's the law! And, most importantly, drive distraction-free. Driver distraction is a leading cause of pedestrian/vehicle crashes.
Watch for Deer
Watch for deer during dawn and dusk - this is when most deer-vehicle crashes occur. Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the side of the road. If anything looks suspicious, SLOW DOWN.
Remember, deer do unpredictable things. Sometimes they stop in the middle of the road when crossing. They will occasionally and quickly re-cross back from where the came from and other times they move toward an approaching vehicle.
- Do not swerve when encountering deer - it's safer to brake and hit a deer than to swerve into oncoming traffic or off the road
- Always wear your seat belt - it's the first line of defense in a crash
Information provided by Carver County Sheriff's office.