School is open, drive safely

Published 9:48 am Thursday, August 25, 2011

They’re big….they’re yellow….and they’re full of precious cargo.

Buses full of young children will become more noticeable on Roanoke-Chowan area roadways as most all of the local public schools have opened their doors for the 2011-12 academic year. Adding these buses, operating slower than the posted speed limit and all making frequent stops, to the flow of local traffic increases the risks of motor vehicle accidents.

Collisions involving moving or stopped vehicles typically results in bodily injury; the severity hinges on the force of the impact.

We all cringe in our shoes upon learning of an accident involving a school bus where innocent lives are at stake. That’s why it is so important for motorists to pay very close attention when sharing the road with a school bus.

It’s instinctive for most drivers to quickly look for a slight opening to pass a slower bus or make bold moves in order to avoid having to stop and wait for a bus to pick-up or disembark its passengers, but please do not place the lives of these children at risk, much less your own, just to shave a few minutes off your travel time.

The best advice for motorists typically traveling the same route with school buses is to leave home a few minutes earlier, thus providing extra time to navigate the slower traffic.

Upon a bus activating its flashing, yellow caution lights, be prepared to stop immediately when they change to red. Never pass a school bus when there are flashing red lights and the stop arm is extended.

Also remember that children are unpredictable in their actions. Take extreme caution when traveling in a school zone. If there are no sidewalks, drive cautiously.  Be more alert to the possibility of children walking in the road.

By taking these few simple measures you are helping to protect our most precious asset – our children.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald