For me, there are two terrifying moments of every school day in the year. The first is the moment my alarm goes off at 5:30 am. The second is when I have to stop for a child who is crossing the road to get on my school bus.
There isn’t much I can do about the first fright of the day besides getting a new job but perhaps a few of the drivers on Ontario roads can learn something from my blog. Here’s hoping so.
There is no way of knowing who is going to break the law and pass me from one direction or the other and I’m trying to watch and warn a kid who may be 4 or 14 and may or may not have headphones and be watching their phone rather than me.
Putting aside the topic of the kids with headphones and iPads I want to talk to the drivers who are actually the ones responsible for obeying the rules, no matter what the child is doing.
Most of us who drive buses try to be helpful toward drivers in front and behind us. We allow people to pass before we turn lights on or off. FYI: we don’t have to do that but we do. Most of us also turn on the warning lights well in advance of putting out the stop arm.
There are two sets of flashing red lights on the bus. The inside ones flash a warning to both ways of traffic. When those first lights go on don’t have a heart attack or stand your car on its nose to make yourself stop. They are warning lights and are usually put on well in advance of the actual stop. Try to stop but if it is dangerous to do so we understand.
The outside red lights go on at the same time the bus stop sign arm comes out on the driver’s side of the bus. The children who are crossing are not to do so until the arm is out and the driver has given them the all clear but remember kids are kids and they aren’t always predictable or obedient to the rules. That arm doesn’t come out until the bus is stopped. Vehicles in both directions have to be stopped when it is on. If you don’t believe me check the rules.
It might be good for you to know that some buses are now being equipped with cameras so they can catch the fools who run their lights. That is an unnecessary expense to taxpayers but has become necessary because so many taxpayers who travel between 7 & 9 am or 2 and 5 pm forget to leave an extra three minutes in their travel schedule.
Most school buses stop for less than a minute at each stop to pick up children. Can’t you leave a minute earlier?