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Remember: Not stopping for school buses is illegal

Bus drivers worry that drivers may be out of practice when sharing the road.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — As students head back to class, back-to-school traffic is also making a comeback. School buses are once again resuming their routes after most were halted during the pandemic.

Nicholas Rocha has worked as a school bus driver in Fairfax County for five years. He said he’s worried many commuters are out of practice driving when school buses are on the roads.

“We get a lot of parents or a lot of people who are standing there with their kids,” said Rocha. “We’ll turn our reds on, they’ll start across and cars start flying by us, they go around us. They don’t stop fully.”

Not stopping when a school bus has its flashing red lights on, and an extended stop sign is both dangerous and illegal.

Here’s refresher on when to stop.

Two-Lane Roadway

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While driving on a two-lane roadway and a school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop.

Multi-Lane Roadway

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While driving on a multi-lane roadway with a center turn lane, all traffic from both directions must stop. Even though there is more distance between the bus and the cars on the opposite side, kids could be crossing the road.

Divided Highway

Credit: WUSA9

When traveling on a divided highway with a grass or barrier median, only vehicles on the bus’s side have to stop. On the other side, drivers should use caution and keep an eye out for students.

“A lot of drivers out there need to realize that you need to stop for our stop signs,” said Rocha. “Otherwise, you never know — there could be a kid walking out in the front.”

In addition to staying alert for school buses, commuters should be prepared for an increase in foot traffic in their neighborhoods. It’s important to drive carefully while backing out of driveways and garages, too.

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