Schools in Rock County resumed classes Tuesday, and that means students will be crossing streets and driveways, school buses will make stops for pickups and drop-offs, and there will be increased traffic at intersections near the school campus.
What that means for the rest of us, especially the motoring public, is that we need to be hyper-vigilant in school zones and nearby neighborhoods.
Further complicating school roadway safety is the fact that harvest is starting soon and the farm and school traffic are both creating the need to drive cautiously.
Students, bus drivers, teachers and student motorists are settling into new fall schedules. Farmers will soon start hauling on the same roads as motorists and buses travel on.
We hope they reach their destinations safely every day, no matter how many times a day, or what the schedules may be.
And we hope the rest of our motoring public does its part to slow down and be alert, especially ahead of the 8 a.m. school start and 3 p.m. dismissal.
Stop for school buses: It's the law
Minnesota state law requires all vehicles to stop for school buses when the bus driver activates the flashing lights and has the crossing arm fully extended.
Drivers who violate the law face a $500 fine.
Drivers can face criminal charges for passing a school bus on the right, passing when a child is outside the bus, or injuring or killing a child.
Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights or a stop arm when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
Motorists should slow down, pay attention and anticipate school children and buses, especially in neighborhoods and school zones.
The best way to be aware of your surroundings at all times is to put the distractions away.
When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder.
Wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
When crossing the street to get on the bus or to go home, make eye contact with motorists before proceeding.
Farm equipment operators
Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.