Back to school bus safety: Do you know when to stop?

It will soon be that time of year again when we share the roads with school buses every morning and afternoon.

Lt. Mike Shaw with Michigan State Police joined us in studio to break the laws down for us about when you have to stop for the bus, and when you don't. First things first, he says there's a difference from is the bus driver uses the red blinking lights or yellow blinking lights. 

"Now a lot drivers use yellow lights when they don't want to cause traffic backups, and they know the kids aren't going to cross in front of the bus," he says. "So if you see a blinking yellow light, it's like any other one. You just continue on, being very careful as you go past. If it's a blinking red light - then that means you have to stop."

You have to stop if the lights are blinking red, regardless of if those stop signs have been extended from the side of the bus or not. 

Shaw says you when you do have to stop, you should stop about 40 yards away from the bus.

"Don't trust the kids to stop and say where they are for you," Shaw advises. "Expect them to run out."

There's only one type of roadway that you won't have to stop for the bus, and that's if the road is divided by a median or a barrier. 

Otherwise, you must stop if you're on a two-lane road, or on a multi-lane paved road that's only divided by the left turn lane in the middle. 

You can hear more from Lt. Shaw about school bus safety in the video player above. 

You can get more information on the school bus safety inspection program online here