Traffic

5 things you should know about sharing the road with school buses

State law requires drivers to be extra cautious around school buses. Here, middle school students board their school bus on Popp’s Ferry Road in Biloxi
State law requires drivers to be extra cautious around school buses. Here, middle school students board their school bus on Popp’s Ferry Road in Biloxi Tim Isbell File

A driver in Harrison County got a lesson from deputies Thursday on sharing the road with a school bus.

A Pass Christian school bus driver and the middle school and high school students she was taking home became concerned because a car was riding very close to the school bus bumper. The bus driver stopped on Vidalia Road and called for help from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department. She reported the car was so close she couldn’t see it in her rear-view mirror, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

When the bus stopped, so did the car and its driver.

Said Peterson, “He walked up to the bus driver’s window and threw his hands up like, ‘Well, are you going to move or what?’”

The motorist passed the bus and stopped in the road ahead of it. Peterson said deputies went to the scene. The driver of the car did not receive a citation, but given the circumstances, you may not be so lucky.

Five things you should know

1. When following a bus or any vehicle, keep one car length of space for every 10 mph of speed between you.

2. When a school bus stops, you stop — at least 10 feet from the bus and regardless of whether you are behind the bus or approaching the bus. The bus driver turns on flashing red lights and a mechanical stop sign pops out. Don’t budge until the school bus starts moving. A new law in effect since July allows drivers on four-lane highways to continue traveling unless the bus stops in the right-hand lane at a designated school bus–loading area; if you can’t pass the bus, you must stop directly behind it.

3. If you don’t stop for a school bus as required, you can be fined $350 to $750 and jailed for up to one year.

4. The speed limit in school zones is 15 mph when school is in session. The fine for speeding in a school zone varies by city and county. In Gulfport, it’s $218. In Harrison County, it’s $216.50.

5. So how long does it take for you to stop? If your brakes are good and the road is dry, 47 feet when you brake from 30 mph; 84 feet from 40 mph; 198 feet from 50 mph; and 270 feet from 60 mph.

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