One of the leading causes of school bus accidents is carelessness when loading and unloading the bus. What's more devastating is that oftentimes these accidents could have been prevented. If you're a Transportation Director or Assistant Superintendent, it's imperative that you educate your students on the correct way to load and unload the school bus. Here are a few tips that - if shared - could save a life.
It's important to educate students that it's only safe to approach the school bus after it has come to a complete stop. The driver will open the door and motion for students to enter. They should wait for that signal, knowing that the bus driver will have taken all the necessary precautions - including making sure traffic is stopped.
Schools teach kids to line up in an orderly fashion away from the road and enter the bus one at a time. If more than one child tries to walk up the stairs at a time, it can cause tripping and/or a domino effect should one fall.
Students they should always use the handrail when walking up the steps so as to avoid slipping, especially during icy winters.
Yes, there’s even a safe way to exit a bus too. Once the bus has completely stopped, students can walk toward the door. It is discouraged to bop other kids in the head with bags as they walk by.
Students should be encouraged to use the handrail while walking down the stairs to exit. (It is there for a reason!) They should also make sure that straps, drawstrings, and clothing don’t get caught in the handrails or the door.
Should homework or a paper fly out from a backpack, students should be aware that they should never chase it under the bus. We know that homework is important, but the student’s life is MORE important. He/She can ask the school bus driver to get it, or they can wait until the bus goes on its way (but only retrieving the paper if it’s not in a street with traffic).
If kids have to cross the street after getting off the bus, they should always do so in front of the bus, never behind. That way, the bus driver can keep his/her eyes on them. Students should also walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus to ensure that the driver can always see them. If the road is clear, students should cross quickly. If not, they should return to the curb and defer to the bus driver’s prerogative as to when to cross.
Just like there’s more than one way to skin a cat (or so the saying goes), there’s more than one way to enter and exit a bus, but the safe way is the best way. So make sure your school system is teaching students the proper way and thus avoiding loading/unloading accidents.