Do You Stop?

March 27, 2007 by Kailani  
Filed under random thoughts

While I was driving this morning, there was a school bus coming in the opposite direction. It made a stop to let on a bunch of high school kids.

What did I do? I stopped.

Was that wrong? You would think it was the way the guy behind me kept honking his horn and yelling at me. I thought it was a law that you had to stop when kids are getting on or off a school bus no matter what direction you’re approaching from.

Do you stop for the school bus?

Updated: I forgot to mention that there was a little red stop sign sticking out from the side of the bus with flashing red lights. I’m not sure it that sign illuminates automatically every time the bus stops or if the driver has to do it manually.

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Technorati technorati tags: school+bus, traffic+laws

About the author:
Kailani is the owner and founder of An Island Life. You'll find her sharing her daily life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii. She is also the founder of the group review site - Family Review Network. Follow along on her adventure of a lifetime this Winter as a member of the Vaseline Dry Skin Patrol!
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43 Responses to “Do You Stop?”
  1. Author Mom with Dogs says:

    Holy Cow! What a world we live in now…

    One can only hope he had an emergency and wasn’t just being a total jerk!

  2. Ryan says:

    Were its front lights flashing?

    A bus picking up kids generally doesn’t require oncoming traffic to stop, unless the driver expects kids to come running from the other side of the street. Same for a bus dropping kids off at a school (provided the kids don’t have to cross the street to get there).

    It’s usually only when a bus is dropping kids off after school in a neighborhood (when you don’t know where the kids are going to go once they step out the door) that the lights flash, and you’re definitely expected to stop.

  3. Local Girl says:

    I can totally understand stopping when the kids are getting dropped off.

    But I’m thinking that a child may be late and not look when running across the street to catch the bus. I remember a few years ago there was a child that got hit by a car that way. It was so sad when they interviewed his mother.

  4. Jenny says:

    Of course you’re supposed to stop. In SC, either last year or the year before they passed a law that states if there is any type of median in the road you don’t have to stop if you’re going in the opposite direction, but I’ve yet to see anyone take advantage of this opportunity. Everyone still stops. Which is probably better for the kids anyway.

    This jerk probably doesn’t have kids and probably never rode a school bus growing up. It’s my fine memories of almost being run over a couple of times that keeps me stopping for busses…not the law. :)

  5. grace says:

    I would stop of course! I can’t believe the mental drivers honking their horns behind you.

  6. meredith says:

    I don’t stop if it is a four lane, but I sure as heck do if it is in the lane next to me, going the opposite direction. There was a little boy in the school where I graduated from who was struck and killed by a motorist who was just like the dude behind you…. impatient. It was awful.

  7. carmen says:

    Was there a median? I stopped approaching a bus once, with it’s lights flashing, but there was a median between me and the bus. The guy behind me honked and went around. I found out later that if there’s a median, you don’t have to stop. Whut? Makes no sense.

    And yes, Katherine is as funny in person as she is on her blog.

  8. Lissete says:

    I ABSOLUTELY stop if the stop sign is out. Geez, that is what a stop sign is for. EVen if the sign is not out, I always slow down because you never know if a kid is going to dart out. I know that I would NOT be able to live with myself if anything would happen. I can’t even say it… :(

  9. Mike says:

    We have so many buses in our neighborhood. There is a block of time when there are about 6 buses that pass during a 5 minute span. No exaggeration. It can sometimes add several minutes at the end of the commute home if you catch that window. But, I still stop. I don’t want to end up running over one of my kids’ friends.

  10. Joanna says:

    I went to elementary school on Oahu (back on the mainland now…) and we didn’t have buses at all, so it’s possible the person behind you doesn’t come across them very often & didn’t understand what you were doing… though, the blinking red stop sign shoulda been a clue, you’re right.

  11. Ma says:

    Yes, by law you’re supposed to stop when a school bus stops and has his flag up. But you know how it is with some folks. They are ignorant and don’t care about other things or people except themselves. That’s why I hate driving in town, cause the people that are there are not so patient. In fact some of them are just simply rude. Even in the stores. I took my husband to the new Walmart by Ala Moana and he was in the handicap scooter, and the people kept banging him with the shopping carts and acted like he was in their way. And he really wasn’t cause I had him stay on the side in the big aisles away from everyone. But they kept on hitting him and giving him stink eye. No respect for the elderly.

  12. gomomyourock says:
  13. maria says:

    Here in PA,if the lights are flashing, the only time you do not have to stop is if you are on the other side of a divided highway. In fact our bus driver had a guy arrested last year for failure to yield to him and the fine was $1000, and he had to do community service. So it is a very serious law here. If the stop sign was out you’re best bet is to stop and wait until it goes in. Needless to say I always stop, you should even slow down if you see kids waiting, I want to chase down every jerk who flies by my house at 60 mph when one of my kids is waiting for the bus.

  14. Mama Duck says:

    Yes, we have to stop unless it is divided (usually around here the opposite lanes are so far apart that the kids couldn’t run across and get in front of our car by the time we go past the bus). I slow down if I see kids too, especially because people dart out all the time down here, we have a lot of pedestrian deaths with all the tourists.

  15. Desert Songbird says:

    Well, there you go – lots of support for what you did, which was apparently the legal thing to do.

    I think when it comes to safety, it’s best to use caution. Too many kids are hurt by people who just don’t think.

    I see the same garbage when it comes to emergency vehicles, people who ignore the flashing lights and sirens. Unbelievable.

  16. Heather L. says:

    It is a law that you have to stop. It doesn’t matter which way you are traveling or which way the kids are getting off. A few months ago, a high school girl that lives down the street from me was behind the bus. As the bus stopped to drop off my son adn the kids I babysit, the girl sped around the bus and flew into her driveway. How was she to know that one or more of the kids weren’t going to cross the road? The bus driver stopped in front of her house and chewed her out! I could hear every word! I almost called the cops, but thought the bus driver yelling at her with all those little faces in the window would serve as a better memory for her.

  17. Holly Schwendiman says:

    Well, it’s a largely misunderstood concept all the way around. The first time it happened to me I heard many arguments that you didn’t have stop if you were driving the other way and I had angry people around me too. But I could clearly see from the bus driver’s motions and reaction to cars that continued to pass that everyone was supposed to stop. Many people here in AZ mistakenly believe that oncoming traffic doesn’t have to stop but they haven’t researched it because the only time oncoming traffic is not required by law to stop is if the road is divided with an island median. Nobody really wants to take the time to find out the rules, they just like to talk about what they’ve heard other people say as fact. People fail to recognize that when cars are involved views and communication signals can cross in dangerous ways. My younger brother was hit in a crosswalk when he was about 12. The closest car stopped and motioned him to cross, but a car coming up in the second lane to the side didn’t see him and so didn’t stop. When you see a car stopped around a crosswalk or bus you stop because you may not be able to see what the stopped car is blocking from your view – and that means the pedestrian also can’t see you. My brother only crossed because one driver motioned him that it was safe and another driver failed to stop. Everyone is in such a hurry these days though and only seem to care about their own schedules and inconveniences. Safety takes a back seat to common sense and courtesy and that’s sad because we’re the teachers out there setting patterns for the next generations. I also get really agitated at how many time traffic refuses to move and make right of way possible for emergency vehicles. I suppose we could create an entire blog just for driving woes and frustrations though hugh?! LOL


  18. Twisted Cinderella says:

    You did the right thing. You are supposed to stop. This is because some kids getting off the bus have to cross the road and cars may not see the kids darting across the road in front of the bus.

  19. yoshi says:

    In this state you must stop if the school bus has it’s lights on. and when the bus is letting off or picking up kids, the lights are on saying stop. you have to be blind not to see it. this goes for all traffic, behind and coming against. The only exception to that rule (in this state at least) is on a 4 lane road. The oncoming traffic doesn’t necessarily need to stop, but most people around here stop anyways.

    respect the school bus!

  20. Tammy says:

    Hi Kailani…I saw your reply on Poppy Fields and just had to stop by and say hello again! :) And it’s a sad thing when people are in such a hurry that they get impatient when you obey the law and help keep children safe! Wow…and I thought life was suppose to be slower on the islands…(but I know Honolulu is a bit faster paced.) And then there’s the people that won’t pull over when a siren is coming their way and the ambulance has to honk frantically…not good!

    Anyway, hope all is well with you! Enjoy that Hawaiian sunshine for me! :)

  21. The Queen Of Cute Shoes says:

    The law here in Washington is that if you are on a two lane road and a bus is coming in the opposite direction and there is NO median in the center no matter if the kids are being picked up or dropped off you have to stop. But if the bus is coming towards you but there is a median in the center dividing your lane and the lane of the bus, then you don’t have to stop. It says just to slow down and be cautious of kids, though.

  22. Modern Mami says:

    Yes I stop. It’s law here in FL. He was just being an ass.

    Modern Mami

  23. Dana says:

    As you already know, you did the right thing. The guy behind you was a jerk. Even if you didn’t HAVE to stop by law, COME ON – a child’s safety could be at stake…I think the guy could wait the 15 seconds he was delayed.

  24. Renee says:

    every driver’s test I’ve had to take says to stop if the sign is out…the only exception is if there is a divided road (grass between the two directions of traffic). They guy behind you was a jerk.

  25. Anne says:

    Used to be the driver had to operate the stopsign but now it might be automatic. Yes you are supposed to stop. Cause here if you don’t stop the driver of the bus can take down your make of car, and license number and turn it in to the school who then turns it over to the prosecuter and you know he’s gonna nail some ass to the wall.

  26. wendy says:

    I always stop and if someone behind me doesn’t like it might sit there even after the bus has gone on. You never know what a kid might do and I’d rather get honked at than run over a kid no matter how old.

  27. BeachMama says:

    What a jerk!

    Here (in Canada) it is the law. Hubby accidently drove past a school bus a few years ago now (the bus was stopped while turning into a street so the signs weren’t visible). The driver reported him. It was $500 both times (yes he did it two days in a row) and loss of points. He was able to negotiate only paying one fine and the loss of half the points which allowed him to keep his licence. I almost had to drive everywhere for two whole years!

    There is a no tolerance policy here, hopefully you guys will too, it is for the safety of the kids after all.

  28. YellowRose says:

    It’s law here that you have to stop. What a moron to honk. You did the right thing. What a world we live in…everyone is in a hurry. No time to take a minute and relax.

  29. Christine says:

    We have to stop too. I live on a major short cut street, kind of like a back road to a major street. I have 6 schools in my neighborhood, and buses use my street more than the main street. There was actually one day some moron didn’t STOP for the bus, and the bus driver Honked his horn. I agree people are in such a hurry now adays.

  30. Mommy the Maid says:

    You stop your car to let the kids pass. After the children are out of the way, you get out of your car and promptly stick your boot in the guy’s rear.

    What a jerk!!

  31. Michelle says:

    Well these comments have been highly informative. I’ve always stopped because I didn’t know otherwise, looks as if a median says you can continue if you’re going the opposite direction. Good to know.

  32. Stacy says:

    Yes, I always stop. The last thing I would want to do is get my car anywhere near a child, and it’s just better to be safe than sorry.

    I still stop at RR tracks too, and have had someone blow their horn and gesture at me for that. Hello. I don’t want to be hit by a train either, people!


  33. Debby says:

    Umm…duh dude! Of course you did the right thing. Unless it’s a divided street you are required by law to stop. I doubt it’s different in Hawaii. What a jerk! Even if it wasn’t the law, though I would still stop. They’re kids…even if they are in high school.

  34. Pamela says:

    Isn’t that when you wish you had one of those Inspector Gadget things — like a big boxing glove come out of your trunk… KA Thunk!!!

    or… a chimpanzee in your trunk. Have you seen those commercials?

  35. Mary (mert) says:

    Yes, It’s my understanding that by law you have to stop. It doesn’t matter which direction you are going.

  36. Crissybug says:

    I always stop. The only time that you don’t have to stop is if there is a median in the road, but I see that others have already said that.

    People are just crazy!

  37. TopChamp says:

    We don’t have to stop – but we don’t have school busses really – the kids just get a normal bus.

    A couple of weeks ago there was a tragedy on our street when two schoolgirls ran out in front of a van, trying to catch a bus on the other side of the road.

    Witnesses have said that the van driver was not at fault, but he must be devastated – as must the girl’s families. It occurred at a breaktime and happened in front of the other kids (who are understandably shocked & upset). It’s a big road (2 carriageways in each direction) with no crossing. I noticed today that they are putting traffic lights in – which is good.

  38. Sparky Duck says:

    if the lights are flashing, you stop. Unless the school bus is also held up by a red light on the other side of the street, which happens here occasionally.

  39. Zeus says:

    This happens all the time around Houston. Three lane roads on either side, and there comes the bus, getting ready to stop. Everyone on the side with the bus will suddenly speed up in order to get by before the bus comes to a stop. People on the other side of the road will inch along as if they think no one notices that they did not come to a complete stop. It’s a shame that some rules are neglected.

  40. Angela (Robinson County) says:

    What a grouch! I always stop. Better safe than sorry. Besides, most people around here don’t mind one bit. Everyone pulls over to the side of the road for a funeral procession or an ambulance, and traffic stops for stopped school buses.

  41. Waya says:

    Actually, he can get a ticket (if caught) for not stopping for the school bus regardless of which ways the bus stops.

    I hope he gets caught one day.

  42. Write From Karen says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s a law here in Missouri for oncoming traffic to stop when a school bus has it’s lights and sign out.

    It seems kids are always getting hit in this area by careless drivers so everyone is super sensitive about making sure they stop when necessary.

  43. Julee Huy says:

    The same thing has happened to me before and I’ve wondered if I was supposed to stop ever since. Looks like we have a lot of support for stopping here though!

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