The summer is winding down and a new school year has begun.  With the start of school, many new and returning students will be making their way to school in buses, cars, on bikes, skateboards, as well as on foot.  In Maryland, a good number of our students travel to school by bus.  Knowing the laws pertaining to school buses is a critical part of being a driver.

One of the most important laws is stopping while a school bus has stopped to pick up or let off students.  Most of us know that when we are behind a bus we stop when the bus stops.  The person traveling in the opposite direction must also stop for students getting off that same bus.

Some scenarios are not as straightforward. Take this quiz to test your school bus safety knowledge.

You are on a two-lane street with a center turn lane for both directions.  You are traveling in the opposite direction from where a bus has stopped to drop off a large group of students.  Do you;

a. Keep driving

b. Slow down a little but keep moving

c. Stop

d. Not sure

If you answered c, Stop, you are correct!  In the State of Maryland, you are required to stop in this situation.

Let’s try another one.

You are traveling on a four-lane road, two lanes going one direction and two lanes going in the opposite direction with a double yellow line separating them.  You are traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus that has stopped to drop off a large group of students. Do you:

a. Keep driving

b. Slow down a little but keep moving

c. Stop

d. Not sure

If you answered c, Stop, you are correct!  In the State of Maryland, you are required to stop in this situation.

Let’s try one more:

You are traveling on a four-lane road, two lanes going one direction and two lanes going in the opposite direction with a median of cement and grass dividing the two lanes.  You are traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus that has stopped to drop off a large group of students. Do you:

a. Keep driving

b. Slow down a little but keep moving

c. Stop

d. Not sure

If you answered a, Keep moving, you are correct! In the State of Maryland if there is a median in the center of the roadway you are not required to stop for a bus dropping students at a designated bus stop.

Now that we have refreshed your memory on school bus traffic laws; we would like to give you a few tips for driving during the school year.

Look carefully when backing out of your driveway for children walking, running or riding by.

Slow down when driving in a neighborhood, especially if there are no sidewalks.

Drive carefully trough school zones, as children will be distracted.

Traffic will be heavier than during the summer so make sure to allow extra travel time for your commute.

Make sure to look out for bus signals:

Yellow flashing lights indicate a school bus is about to stop for loading or unloading of students

Red flashing lights mean that a bus has stopped to allow students to enter or exit the bus.

This time of year is especially chaotic, as everyone gets back into the school routine.  Parents will be dropping off and picking up their children, kids will be lining up at their school bus stops, and roads will have more activity than during the summer. Make sure to keep up your guard at all times, especially when driving through neighborhoods and school zones.  From all of us at Maryland Auto Insurance, we hope you have a happy and safe school year!