School Buses: When to Stop While Sharing the Road

With the start of school, you are likely to encounter more school buses on your commute. Do you know the rules for when to stop for a school bus? Chances are you might need some brushing up since driver’s ed, but we’re here to help. While you don’t have to come to a stop every time you see a school bus on the road, it’s important to know when you are required to stop. This article will break down everything you need to know about driving around school buses.

Sharing the road with school buses

If you see a school bus in your lane or coming towards you, pay close attention to what it’s doing. Leave extra room between you and the school bus and be prepared to stop suddenly as it loads or unloads. School buses are also required to stop at all railroad crossings, so be prepared. In every state, it’s illegal to pass a school bus that’s loading or unloading students.

When do you have to stop?

• Vehicles behind the bus in the same lane or neighboring lanes going in the same direction as the bus
• Drivers going the opposite direction on the same street as the bus
• Vehicles on a cross street that intersects with the street where the school bus is stopped

When do you NOT have to stop?

The only time you are not required to stop for a school bus is if their is a divider between traffic.

  1. If directions of traffic are only separated by yellow pavement markings or center turn lanes, you will need to stop.
  2. If there is a physical barrier, such as grass, trees, or concrete separating your vehicle and the school bus, it’s okay to keep driving.

Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law

• Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended.
• Drivers must stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped.
• Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn.

Penalties for violating Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Laws include:

• $250 fine
• Five points on your driving record
• 60-day license suspension
All vehicles must stop at least 10 feet upon meeting, from either direction, a school bus that is loading or unloading children and displays flashing lights and the stop signal arm. This rule does not apply if the bus is on the opposite roadway of a divided highway.

For more ways to keep your children safe, check out our article on How to Avoid Back to School Germs. To learn more about staying safe on the road, just call us at 724-929-2300! Our local agents will work with you to get you the coverage you want at the best price. Don’t get stuck on hold at a call center or left paying for coverages you don’t need. At CSC, you’ll know exactly who handles your account and our friendly agents will walk you through any questions you have.

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