Within the next week or two, all schools in the area will be back in session after the summer break.  This seems like a good time for a reminder to drivers:  Watch out for kids and school buses.

While the majority of school-safety issues are simple common sense, often drivers get used to not seeing the yellow school buses during the summer months and need time to adjust.  At the same time, kids have also been away from their usual routine.  In addition, each school year brings a new set of students to the group.

The Cloquet Police Department offered some good tips via their Facebook page.  Here are their words of advice:

  • Don't pass:  It's illegal to pass school buses that are stopped to pick up or unload children.
  • Watch for yellow school buses and lights:  Yellow flashing lights on a school bus alert drivers that the bus is preparing to stop.
  • Watch for red lights and stop sign-arms:  When a school bus has stopped, the lights change to red and the red stop arm comes out when the door is open.
  • Everyone must stop:  When students are embarking or leaving a school bus, all traffic must come to a stop - in both directions and in all lanes.
  • Stay behind:  If you approach a stopped school bus, don't pass.  Stay behind the bus.
  • Crosswalks:  Don't block crosswalks near bus stops or on routes to school.
  • Distance:  When you come to a stop behind a school bus, leave enough space to allow children to safely come and go from the vehicle.
  • Never pass on the right: Never pass a school bus on the right side.
  • Look out:  Be cautious and alert and make sure that you're watching for children.
  • Stop:  Whether it's a police office, crossing guard, or a student crossing guard - if you're directed to "stop", do so.
  • Stay alert:  Children can be the least predictable.  Make sure you're vigilant.
  • Don't honk:  Honking the horn on your vehicle can scare or startle a child, potentially making them do something erratic.