After what I witnessed last week, I thought it was about time to revisit the rules on when it’s safe and legal to pass school buses.
A lot of drivers seem to panic when they see the yellow lights flash. Some start braking immediately and others hit the gas to pass the bus before the red lights come on.
Where most drivers get in trouble is not knowing when they can pass, legally, without stopping.
I watched in disbelief last week as an entire five lane road came to a halt, in both directions, when a school bus was flashing its reds. It’s not necessary and it causes frustration from drivers who know what to do and who are stuck in the resulting backup.
• Drivers must stop if they are traveling in the same direction as the bus. They must stop in the opposite direction if there are only two lanes on the road — one lane in each direction.
• Drivers do not have to stop in the opposite direction when there are three or more lanes on a road, and one of those lanes can be a center turn lane.
It’s a situation I see frequently on three lane roads.
If you do break the law by passing when you shouldn’t, the ticket is $394. Many school districts have installed cameras on buses to catch violators.