As clocks spring ahead and the seasons change, bus drivers deal with new challenges while conducting their routes.

In the spring and early summer, motorists have to deal with shadows, glaring sunlight and busier neighborhood streets. Children will increase their outdoor playtime due to nicer weather and more school buses will be traveling to accommodate field trips, athletic competitions and other activities. With all of these factors, noticing the stop arm and flashing lights on a stopped school bus becomes more difficult. Here are a few safety tips for motorists, parents and students.

Motorists should:

Be aware it is illegal to pass a school bus stopped to load or unload passengers.

Know and understand laws governing motorist driving behavior in a school zone or near a stopped school bus.

Learn the "Flashing signal light system" that school bus drivers use to alert motorists if they are going to stop.

Students riding a bus should always:

Know the safest route from your house to the bus stop and use it to go straight from the house to the bus and from the bus back home.

Stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the edge of the road so the bus driver and others can see them.

Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says it is okay before stepping onto the bus.

Crossing students should:

Walk in front of the bus, never behind it.

Know the danger zone and stay out of it.

Walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 10 giant steps ahead of the bus before crossing the street.

Be sure the bus driver can see them, and they can see the bus driver.

Be alert to traffic. When getting on or off the bus, look left, right, and then left again before entering or crossing the street.

Wait for the driver's signal to cross.

While warmer temperatures mean thinner coats and better visibility for students, it also means more playground equipment being taken to school. Please remember the following rules when taking equipment on the school bus:

All basketballs, kick balls, footballs, baseballs, etc. must be in a bag.

No Hockey sticks, baseball/softball bats, skateboards, scooters or any oversized equipment are allowed on the school bus.

Large school projects should be taken to and picked up from school by parents.

Market Day or any other fundraising items should be picked up at school by parents.

Portage Township Schools is experiencing a shortage of qualified bus drivers. If you have an interest in driving a school bus for Portage Township Schools, please visit our website and complete our on-line application. Applicants must meet the following qualifications: possess a good driving record, have experience working with school age children, be in good health and be willing to undergo our training and get a class B commercial driver's license.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion.

 

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