Sharing the road with school buses again
It’s hard to believe, but it’s already back to school time, which means you need to keep an eye out for school buses and school zones during your morning and afternoon drives. It’s also the perfect time to brush up on the rules when around school buses and school zones.
- Drivers are required to stop when they are behind a bus that’s traveling in the same direction.
- Drivers also aren’t allowed to use the center turn lane to pass a bus that has stopped with its red lights flashing
- Drivers must also stop when they are on a two-lane road headed in the opposite direction of a bus that’s stopped with flashing red lights.
However, Washington state law states:
- If you’re on a road with three or more lanes, you need to stop if you’re traveling in the same direction as the bus. If you’re traveling in the opposite direction, you can keep going.
- If there is a median or an island between the opposing directions, traffic going the same direction as the bus needs to stop. Traffic going in the opposite direction does not.
- And remember you are not allowed to resume driving until the school bus has turned off its flashing lights and the stop arm is brought in.
Keep in mind, school buses are now equipped with cameras and if you are caught breaking the law, it could mean a hefty ticket — up to $700 — slapped on your driving record.
“If you are in a school zone and you see a sign that reads ‘when children are present,’ that means you have to go twenty miles per hour when you see children walking along the road or in a crosswalk,” said Pemco Auto Insurance spokesperson Allison Leep.
When drivers see flashing lights in a school zone, they are required to slow down to 20 miles per hour.
“You must be going 20,” Leep said. “Think of the phrase, 20 is plenty and use that phrase as a reminder anytime you are unsure about the speed limit.”
Speeding up isn’t worth the risk of a ticket or the unable imaginable heartbreak of a pedestrian accident.
Lastly, when you see a sign that says the standard school speed zone is 20 miles per hour, you are required to drive that speed 300 feet in either direction of the zone.
Good luck this year and let’s do our best to keep our children safe.