Perspective Newsletter
Spring 2015
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 *Perspective Title (Hint: This should match page name found in the url address line above, minus the dashes.)

Road Rules 101: Stopping for school versus transit buses

Road Rules 101

With school set to start in just weeks, you'll soon see those big yellow buses rolling through your neighborhood again. Will you get an A+ for driver safety? And do you know how road rules differ between school and transit buses?

Take our quiz and find out:

1. 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, occupying part of the lane. What do you do?

A) steer into the center turn lane to pass;

B) steer to the right to pass;

C) stop behind the bus and wait until it starts moving again.

The answer is C. The red flashing lights always mean stop when you're following a school bus. (Passing on the right is the absolute worst choice, since you could hit a child entering or leaving the bus.)

2.     Now try the same question for transit buses with the same A, B, or C choices.

The answer might surprise you, but at least in Washington it's often the same – C! Here's why: Transit buses require the same kind of stop-and-wait patience when they're occupying part of the lane. That's because the solid yellow line typically marking the center turn lane means NO PASSING, the same as if you saw it in the middle of a two-lane road. Check out Washington's RCW 46.61.290, section 3C, which spells out that it's not OK to use the center lane to overtake another vehicle.

That's a tricky one for Oregon drivers visiting the Evergreen State because Oregon law, ORS 811.380, does permit center lane use for passing vehicles – provided, of course, it's not a school bus with red flashing lights. 

And here's an extra credit question about transit buses:

3.     When a transit bus has finished loading or unloading passengers and signals its intent to return to the lane of travel, drivers must:

A) yield, allowing the bus to merge into traffic;

B) proceed with caution;

C) speed up to get out of the bus driver's way.

The answer is A, you must yield to a signaling transit bus that's trying to re-enter the roadway, whether in Washington or Oregon. And to brush up on your school bus know-how, check out the slightly differing laws in Washington, RCW 46.61.370, and Oregon, ORS.811.155.

Have a Road Rule you think we should feature? Please share it with us.

NOTE: While we're experts in loss prevention and home/auto safety, we don't consider ourselves experts in traffic laws or their enforcement. Information shared here is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have legal concerns, we urge you to contact a law enforcement source or attorney in your community.