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Every school day in this country, 25 million children ride in a bus. They are among the safest modes of transport—students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s because school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road, NHTSA says; they’re designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries.

Kids face real risks when as they walk to the bus stop, and when getting on and off the bus. NHTSA and the National Safety Council offer these tips to help keep students—and those who drive near them—safe.

Tips for Drivers

The danger is real: More school-age pedestrians have been killed from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. than any other time of day, NHTSA says. Make sure you’re not part of the problem:

• Look before you back out. Watch out for children walking or bicycling to school when backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage. Walk around your car or out to the sidewalk to check for any children about to cross your path before you get in the car.

• Be on the lookout when driving through neighborhoods. Drive slowly and watch for children walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks. Be aware of children playing or standing at bus stops. Kids are usually taught to look both ways before crossing a street, but they could dart into traffic without looking if they’re late or distracted.

• Learn the school bus laws in your state. Yellow flashing lights indicate that a bus is preparing to stop to pick up or drop off children. Drivers should slow down and prepare to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop-arm signal indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. Cars must stop a safe distance away and not start again until the red lights stop flashing, the stop sign has been folded back, and the bus begins to continue on its way.

Tips for Students

Students need to be prepared, whether it’s before they get on the bus, while they’re riding to school, or when they’re getting ready to get off the bus back at home.

Getting On

• Be an early bird. Be at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

• Maintain a safe distance. Stand at least 6 feet away from the curb when the bus approaches, and keep the line away from the street.

• Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay to step onto the bus.

• Remain visible to the bus driver at all times. If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet ahead of it before you cross. Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.

• Never walk behind the bus. You should always make sure that you’re in the driver’s line of sight. The driver might not be able to see you back there.

• Use the handrails to avoid falling.

While Riding the Bus

• If seat belts are available on the bus, buckle up.

• Don’t speak loudly or make loud noises that could distract the driver.

• Stay in your seat.

• Don’t put your head, arms, or hands out the window.

• Keep the aisle clear of books, bags, and other objects.

• Gather your belongings before you reach your stop.

• Wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat.

When Exiting the Bus

• Use the handrail when exiting.

• Be careful that clothing and backpacks don’t get caught in the handrails or doors when exiting the bus.

• If you have to cross in front of the bus after you get off, first walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the driver.

• Make sure the driver can see you.

• Wait for a signal from the driver before crossing in front of the bus.

• When the driver signals, look left, right, then left again. Walk across the road and keep an eye out for sudden traffic changes.

• If your vision is blocked, move to an area where you can see other drivers and they can see you.

• Do not cross the center line of the road until the bus driver signals that it’s safe.

• Stay away from the rear wheels of the bus at all times.

• If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up without warning the driver first, because the driver may not be able to see you.

Original story from Yahoo News

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