Bus stop alert: what to do when a school bus stops

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School is almost back in session so it's time to remember what to do when a school bus is stopped with its sign deplyed.

MSP shared the above graphic last year to its social media pages to remind all drivers what to do when you pass a school bus.

You already know that if it's a two-lane road and the bus has its stop sign out and lights flashing, both directions of traffic have to stop. If you didn't know that - you do now, so do that next time.

What you may not have known is that if you're on a multi-lane road, all traffic must come to stop, even if there's a turning lane separating the lanes of traffic.

The only time that you're not required by law to stop is when there is an unpaved median or a barrier between you and the stopped bus. Even then, you should proceed with caution and keep an eye out for students running to catch the bus or running from it at the end of the day.

In every scenario, if you're behind the bus and it has come to a stop to pickup or dropoff students, you must come to stop as well. 

Here's what MSP says about school buses:

  • Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing
  • Stop at least 20 feet away for buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway
  • Slow down in or near school and residential areas
  • Look for clues-such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds-that indicate children might be in the area
  • Watch for children between parked cars and other objects

School buses are like traffic signals

  • When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop
  • When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop
  • When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution