Road Rules 101: When to pass a school bus (and when to stay put)
With school buses set to roll out across the Northwest in just a few weeks, now's a great time to brush up on your school bus road rules. Ready?
- You're driving on a three-lane road (one lane in each direction, plus a center turn lane), following a school bus. The bus slows, its red lights start to flash, and it stops. Do you:
Got your answer? OK, now try this one.
- steer to the center turn lane to pass?
- steer to the right to pass?
- stop behind the bus and wait for the red lights to stop flashing?
- You're still on the same three-lane road, but this time instead of following the bus, you're coming toward it, traveling in the opposite direction. Do you:
- stop before you reach the front of the bus and wait for its red lights to stop flashing?
- stop, but only if it's a residential street?
- continue on without stopping?
The correct answer to one of those questions depends on whether you're driving in Washington or Oregon! Here are the road rules to remember:
Question 1. Regardless of the number of lanes, ALWAYS stop when you're traveling in the same direction of the bus and its red lights flash. Give yourself a gold star if you answered "c!"
Passing on the right is the absolute worst thing you can do. Last year, a driver made that careless move in Graham, Wash., and nearly ran over three children getting ready to board their bus. (The whole thing was caught on video and made news locally and across the nation).
Question 2. Here's where things get tricky. If you're driving in Washington, it's OK to keep going if you're traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus and the road has three or more lanes, is separated by a median, or is separated by a physical barrier. So, Evergreen Staters, "c" is the right answer for you. But in Oregon, you must stop. It's OK to continue only if you're driving on a divided highway that's separated by an unpaved median or physical barrier. So "a" is your correct answer.
Now that you know, try to stump your friends! And if you have a Road Rule you think we should feature, please share it with us.