The best way to keep students alert and safe on school bus rides is to encourage active participation in bus safety.
While school buses are the safest mode for getting children to and from school, accidents can occur.
Whether a student is riding the bus for the first time or the hundredth time, knowledge and awareness are needed. Here are six tips on how to better engage children and prevent injuries.
1. Take a step back
And then four more. Children should be at least five giant steps away from the curb at their bus stop. When it's time to board, bus drivers (and parents) can insist that students take five giant steps forward before entering the bus, or move back and start over if they were standing too close. This will act as a daily reminder of where it is safe to stand.
2. Give the signal
Students should never get on or off the school bus until the vehicle is completely stopped. Bus drivers can let children know when it is safe to approach the bus or to get up from their seat with a signal, like a thumbs-up or a shout of "all aboard!"
3. Share your POV
Children may just assume that their school bus driver can see them. Students should take turns sitting in the driver’s seat to learn all the blind spots. Point out the back-up cameras and rearview mirrors so students can understand how important it is to ensure that the bus driver can see them clearly.
4. Do the wave
When students need to cross the street before or after exiting the school bus, they should not only look both ways to make sure there is no oncoming traffic, but also make sure that they are within the bus driver's sight. Students should wave at the bus driver and wait for the bus driver to wave back, indicating that the road is clear and safe to cross, before continuing on.
5. Pick a time to talk
Let passengers know that if they need to speak with the school bus driver, they should wait for the bus to stop and then raise their hands. When the bus is fully stopped, they may call the driver's name. This rule helps to prevent distracted driving.
6. Reward good behavior
Whether it's a small treat or a heartfelt "thank you," students will respond positively to acknowledgement of their good behavior. Don't hesitate to let students know when they listen well.
If students feel like they are responsible for and involved with school bus safety procedures, they are much more likely to stay seated and follow the rules. The tips listed above are great ways to keep children of all ages engaged and on board with bus safety.
Amy Ahn is marketing and web manager at Rosco Vision Systems, working to promote safer roads. She has an A.S. in architectural technology and a BBA in marketing management. Amy is also passionate about cooking and enjoys familiar and not-so-familiar foods from around the world.