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Back to school means busier streets

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The OPP is reminding motorists that back to school time does not only mean changes for students. A large number of school buses transport students, including in rural areas where buses make stops on highways. Be aware of students getting on and off the bus. Leave some extra time for your commute to allow for buses to make their stops.

By Ontario law, motorists traveling in both directions are required to stop their vehicle when approaching a stopped school bus with its upper lights flashingWhen meeting a school bus in oncoming traffic, you must stop far enough away to allow students to cross the road well ahead of the bus bumper.

The OPP reminds that drivers must remain stopped until the school bus begins to move, and the upper red lights have stopped flashing. This law applies on highways, city streets and country roads regardless of the posted speed limit, at any time of day, and every day of the week. Also, be prepared, as school buses are required to stop at railway crossings under the Highway Traffic Act.

Drivers must also obey reduced posted speeds in community safety zones and drive distraction free. Being inattentive can change lives forever.

Some safety tips to remember:

  • Never run to the bus or away from it;
  • The “danger zone” is anywhere close enough to the bus that you can touch it. The bus driver cannot see you when you are in the danger zone;
  • When the bus arrives, wait until it has come to a complete stop. The stop arm will be out and the red lights will be flashing. Always watch for traffic in both directions if you are crossing the highway;
  • If you drop something near the bus, don’t pick it up. Tell the driver or another adult.

Students that do not take the school bus must remember:

  • Always walk on a sidewalk if available, if there is no sidewalk you should walk on the shoulder of the road and walk facing traffic;
  • When crossing the road use locations that have a crossing guard or a signaling device such as a traffic light, or at stop signs;
  • If you are riding your bicycle you must obey all traffic laws. This includes stop signs, traffic lights, riding with traffic not against traffic and obeying crossing guards.
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