Once again, there are no more easy-morning commutes for many local drivers.
Students in many area school districts start classes today. That means school buses will be out on the roads with children waiting at bus stops in the morning or darting across the road in the afternoon. In the Glove Cities, it means motorists have to be extra careful as many children walk to and from their schools.
However, drivers in rural areas also need to be careful. Rural bus routes are where the most complaints of distracted or impatient drivers who ignore school buses tend to happen. In New York, traffic approaching from either direction must stop when a stopped school bus flashes its red lights. Once stopped for a school bus, motorists must stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing or when the bus driver or traffic officer waves for traffic to resume. Motorists also must stop even if the school bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway.
Drivers should be ready for all manner of school-related possibilities on their commutes - children darting out into the road, stopped school buses and 20 mph school zones. And, morning commutes during the school year aren't the time to be driving while playing with a mobile device. Distracted driving is unsafe at any time, more dangerous when chances are good a child could dart out into the road. Whatever is happening on the cellphone can wait until the car is parked.
Being safe around school zones and observing safe practices around school buses only adds a couple of minutes to the typical morning commute - which is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Let's all do our part to make this school year a safe one on our roads.