What do you do when the yellow lights are flashing?
"School is in session. Watch out for children." We hear that message every year at this time and yet, do we really take it to heart? It's the same, old stuff - "Slow down in school zones, keep an eye out for kids in the street, take care when fol...
"School is in session. Watch out for children." We hear that message every year at this time and yet, do we really take it to heart? It's the same, old stuff - "Slow down in school zones, keep an eye out for kids in the street, take care when following or approaching school buses....." yadda, yadda, yadda.
In fact, we've heard it so often we hardly pay attention to it any more. It's one of those things that's been said so often, it's become old hat - right? Wrong!
Case in point: Have you ever approached a school bus with its amber lights flashing and wondered if it's actually legal for you to pass?
Or if the bus is pulled over to the shoulder of the road and kids are loading onto or getting off of the bus, even though the stop arm isn't out, do you still need to stop?
Chances are, most of us have encountered those very circumstances and questioned just exactly what we're supposed to do. We know if the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is out, we have to stop, but what if they're not? Face it, if you're in a hurry, you may decide to take a chance and go ahead and pass, and if you're not, you probably stop - but which is the right thing to do?
And technically, are you following, or breaking, the law?
Basically, while the law does not state a motorist must come to a stop when amber lights are flashing, he or she is strongly cautioned to be prepared to come to a stop at any time and, if they do decide to pass the bus, they should first be alert to the conditions and aware that the circumstances could change at any time.
The same precautions are encouraged if the bus is completely pulled off the main roadway.
For a complete explanation of these and other bus safety questions, the Minnesota State Patrol advises that you visit www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes or do a Google search for "Minnesota State Statutes."
When it comes to safety, most especially when we're talking about kids, there is simply no half-way point. We all need to know the laws and abide by them.