(WHTM) — With the school year being just around the corner, many kids will be either riding the bus or walking to school. Either way, those who drive need to be careful and vigilant of school buses or children walking.

School Bus Safety

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school buses are some of the most regulated vehicles on the road. The administration has some safety tips when it comes to driving near them.

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children, this is when drivers should start to slow and prepare to stop.
  • Red flashing lights mean that you must stop your car and wait for the red lights to turn off before driving again.

In Pennsylvania, the law states that drivers must stop at a minimum of 10 feet away from school buses when their stop arm is extended and their red lights are on. Drivers who are following or alongside a school bus must stop as well.

PennDOT says if a physical barrier, such as a grassy median, guide rail, or concrete median barrier separates oncoming traffic from the bus, drivers in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping.

The Administration also says that parents should teach their children the acronym SAFE

As quoted by the NHTSA, SAFE stands for

  • Stay at least ten feet — five giant steps — away from the curb.
  • Always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals for you to board.
  • Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
  • Exit the bus after it stops and look left-right-left for cars before crossing a street.

Pedestrian Safety

The NHTSA says that when walking, people should be just as vigilant as they would be if they were driving.

The main points for being a safe pedestrian are the following:

  • Use sidewalks when available. If there is no sidewalk, the NHTSA says that you should walk facing the traffic and as far from it as possible.
  • Watch for cars entering and exiting driveways. If you are in a parking lot, make sure to watch for cars backing up.
  • Remind children that they should never play, push or shove others when walking around traffic
  • Make sure you are off your phone and watching traffic when walking in busy areas.

More information on keeping yourself and your children safe during back-to-school times can be found here