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Nassau releases school bus safety tips

Children get on a school bus at the

Children get on a school bus at the corner of Somerset Avenue and Kilburn Road in Garden City. (Sept. 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and Acting Police Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter today released a list of bus safety tips for students and motorists.

Students riding a school bus should always:

* Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early.

* Stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the edge of the road.

* Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it's OK before stepping onto the bus.

* Be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps or dangling objects do not get caught in the handrail or door when exiting the bus.

* Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus.

* Walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead.

* Be sure the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.

* Stop at the edge of the bus and look left-right-left before crossing.

* Tell the bus driver if you drop something beside the bus. Should you try to pick it up, the bus driver may not see you and drive into you.

During the school bus ride:

* Always sit fully in the seat and face forward

* Do not distract the driver

* Never stand on a moving bus

* Obey the driver

* Speak in a low voice

* Never stick anything out the window -- arms, legs, head, book bags, etc.

Motorists should:

* Be aware it is illegal in every state to pass a school bus stopped to load/unload students.

* Know and understand laws governing motorists' driving behavior near a school bus.

* Learn the "flashing signal light system" that school bus drivers use to alert motorists if they are going to stop to load/unload students. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars.

* Begin moving only when the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn and the bus begins to move.

* Watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.

* Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops.

* Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

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