PENINSULA — Washington State Patrol is encouraging drivers to drive slow and watch for children, as schools resume session and school buses are again on the streets.
Not stopping for a school bus can get you a $430 citation.
When traveling on a road with at least three lanes or a divided roadway, drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the bus aren’t required to stop. Drivers traveling the same direction of the bus should stop.
When driving the same direction as a school bus, drivers should always stop. Drivers traveling both directions should also stop for buses on two-lane roads.
Even if there are no children present in the street, drivers should not continue driving until the school bus’ stop sign has stopped flashing and is no longer standing out.
Regardless of the situation, WSP encourages travelers to stay cautious.
When near schools
When driving near school zones, it’s important to remember that school zones have a speed limit of 20 mph. Speeding drivers face doubled fines in school zones.
Staying cautious of children in and near roads, and slowing down for buses are the two biggest suggestions Susie Cousineau, Director of Transportation for the Ocean Beach School District, has. Drivers sometimes will pass buses that are slowing down. This isn’t illegal to do but can be dangerous.
“Go slow and follow signs,” Cousineau said. “Watch for kids on the side of the road. It’s going to get darker and darker; drivers have to be cautious of kids.”
Drivers should yield to pedestrians and make sure intersections are clear. Vehicles stopped for pedestrians should never be passed.
When walking, stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If sidewalks aren’t present, walk facing traffic. Walking with little no distractions is safest, such as staying off phones and not using headphones. Remember to look both ways before crossing the street.
Cyclists should ensure they’re wearing a properly fitted helmet and bright clothing. Cyclists are also advised to use hand signals when turning and be cautious of hazards such as opening car doors.
Bus riders should wait for the school bus to stop completely before approaching. It’s also important to be acknowledged by the bus driver before crossing in front of a bus.
Parents are encouraged to share safety tips with children and teenagers, regardless of whether they walk, ride their bicycle, take the bus or drive to school.