WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Millions of students use school buses every day to get to and from school, and there are several things students and drivers can do to ensure everyone stays safe.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more school-aged pedestrians have been killed during the hours of 7-8 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. than any other time of day.
"Children are often eager to get off the school bus because they are excited to tell their parents about all of the fun they had at school that day," said Sheriff Jim McVicker of Bladen County.
- Always arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes early.
- While the bus is approaching make sure to stand at least three giant steps away from the curb, wait until the bus has come to a complete stop, the door opens, and the bus driver says that it’s OK to board.
- Always walk on the sidewalk when preparing to cross the street near a bus. Make eye contact with the driver so that you are sure he or she sees you.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- If you are walking beside the bus, walk at least three giant steps away.
- Use the handrail when entering and exiting the bus. Take extra precautions to make sure that clothing with drawstrings and book bags do not get caught in the hand rail or door.
- Never stop to pick something up that you have dropped when a bus is stopped. Tell the bus driver or wait until the bus has driven off to avoid not being seen by the driver.
- Never accept a ride from someone you don’t know or isn’t driving a school bus.
- Make sure you know your parent’s contact information in case of an emergency.
- If students ride their bike to school, they should always wear a helmet and ride on the right, in the same direction as traffic.
- Remember that children are unpredictable in their actions. Take extreme caution when traveling in a school zone.
- Avoid driving distracted. Don’t text or make phone calls, apply makeup, or eat breakfast in the car. Try to do that before leaving your house or when you get to work.
- Always wear a seat belt.
- If there are no sidewalks, drive cautiously. Be more alert to the possibility of children walking in the road.
- Slow down and prepare to stop whenever you see yellow school bus lights flashing or when you approach school zones.
- Never pass a school bus when there are flashing red lights and the stop arm is extended. This is a sign that children are getting on or off the bus. Motorists must wait until the red lights stop flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.
- Learn and obey the school bus laws in North Carolina. Take this quiz to see if you know the rules.
The state of New Carolina is currently under a bus shortage. That includes districts here in the Cape Fear.