School Bus Safety
Whether you’re a driver following a yellow school bus, a parent waiting with your child at the stop or a student riding to school, bus safety is everyone’s responsibility!
- Always walk on the sidewalk to the bus stop. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left facing traffic.
- Arrive at the bus stop about 10 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. While waiting, stay quietly in a safe place away from the road. Don’t run and play while waiting.
- When you get on the bus, go directly to your seat. Remain seated and face forward during the entire ride.
- Speak quietly and don’t distract the bus driver.
- Never throw things out of the window, block the aisle or interfere with the emergency exits.
- Keep your hands to yourself; don’t fight, pick on, bully or harass another student.
- Always cross the street in front of the bus; never go behind the bus. If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver before you pick it up so they will know where you are.
- Respect the “Danger Zone”—10 feet wide on all sides of the bus. When you’re not boarding or exiting the bus, stay outside the Danger Zone so that your driver can see you.
- If you leave something on the bus, never return to the bus to get it. The driver may not see you come back and may begin moving the bus. Just check with the driver the next day.
- Never speak to or take rides from strangers at a bus stop. Always go straight home and tell your parents if someone tries to talk to you or pick you up.
Please help reinforce these bus safety tips with your child at home!
- Whenever you’re out with your children, remind them to look both ways before crossing or stepping into the road.
- Help your children pay attention when near traffic. Young children are easily distracted; older children may be focusing on their phones or music devices rather than what’s around them.
- Make sure your children leave home on time; running to the bus can be dangerous.
- Dress your child in bright, contrasting colors that other drivers can see.
- Walk your young child to the bus stop and have older children walk in groups.
- Wait for your child on the side where your child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited that they might dash across the street without looking.
- When the school bus stops for passengers, you must stop! That goes for traffic in both directions unless it’s a four-lane (or more) divided highway—in that case all traffic behind the bus must stop.
- When you see flashing yellow lights, the bus is preparing to stop. Slow down and prepare to stop as well.
- When you see flashing red lights and the stop arm is extended, the bus is picking up or dropping off students. Stop your car and do not pass the bus.
- Obey all speed limits near schools, and watch out for students if you’re on the road in mornings or afternoons when buses are running.
New Hand Signals for Bus Riders
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has developed a standard crossing signal to help protect students when they need to cross the street to board the bus or after exiting the bus. The school bus driver will first hold palm out indicating that students should WAIT before stepping into the roadway. After the driver has checked for safety, he or she will then give students a “thumbs up” indicating that the students should then check for traffic and then cross the street. The driver will indicate the direction to walk by pointing with his or her index finger. Durham Public Schools began implementing this procedure in October. For detailed information on the student’s crossing process, please click here (or here for a Spanish version). In addition, you can watch this video produced by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to see the process in action.