School's no longer out for summer, and that means big yellow buses will be on the roads to pick up students. That also means motorists must be prepared to stop when the red warning lights on school buses flash and stop signs are extended.
And drivers must also look for the yellow flashing lights that warn of school zones and lower speed limits. State fines double for speeding in school zones.
State law requires motorists moving in either direction of a road to stop for school buses that extend stop signs and flash red lights. Drivers cannot continue until the bus signals are withdrawn.
The rules provide exceptions on divided roadways for traffic coming in the opposite direction of a stopped bus.
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The Florida Driver's Handbook states that if a highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, motorists heading in the opposite direction do not have to stop. Painted lines and pavement markings are not barriers.
Extra vigilance is warranted in the early morning darkness when some children are already heading to school and crossing streets on foot and bicycle.
Commuting will once again be more of a challenge with all the stopping and slowing.
Parents play a key role in this, too, and should instruct their children on safety rules and practice the route to school. Kids should not be playing around near roadway pavement, for example. An accidental step onto a street can prove disastrous.
Let's be cautious out there, for our children's sake.