Oh my gosh, I just passed a school bus.
I just passed a school bus!
I didn’t even look! Did that school bus have blinking red lights? Were kids actually getting off the bus?
I don’t think I need to worry though, I am on a four-lane road, and I wasn’t directly behind that school bus. I had my own lane, and I didn’t see any other cars stopping.
And, seriously, what California public school still has funds for a school bus anyway?!
So many thoughts ran through my mind as I continued in my search for the dang post office, in the uncharted territory of El Dorado Hills.
I can’t believe I was lost. Who gets lost anymore? We all have GPS.
Alas, I was lost. On top of that, I was sure a cop was going to pull me over at any moment for either:
a. “Ma’am, do you realize you were driving an old 2007 SUV whilst on the golden streets of El Dorado Hills? Punishment to be sustained immediately = banishment!”
b. “Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over? You just illegally passed a school bus.” (Ok, this one is probably more likely.)
I was never pulled over by a cop, but I had to pull over to collect my thoughts, and to let “Guinevere,” the GPS lady, catch up with my coordinates. Had I just broken a law? Don’t those school buses come equipped with cameras to bust criminals, such as myself?
I had convinced myself to look it up in the California Driver Handbook when I got home…and here we are, THREE months later, and I am finally trying to track down the “moving violation.”
Much like when I was 16, the handbook seems to be written in a different language. They’re almost too vague, and the definition of the violation, I think, could be interpreted many different ways. Basically, yes, I broke the law.
Stopped school buses and children crossing the street: Some school buses flash yellow lights when preparing to stop to let children off the bus. The yellow flashing lights warn you to slow down and prepare to stop. When the bus flashes red lights (located at the top front and back of the bus), you must stop from either direction until the children are safely across the street and the lights stop flashing. The law requires you remain stopped as long as the red lights are flashing (CVC §22454). If you fail to stop, you may be fined up to $1,000 and your driving privilege could be suspended for one year. If the school bus is on the other side of a divided or multilane highway (two or more lanes in each direction), you do not need to stop.
As my 7th grade math teacher would ask, ‘clear as mud?’ Who writes this stuff?! It doesn’t say anything about having to stop if you are in, “lane 1,” and the bus is in “lane 2.”
So I did some more digging.
What I found (regarding a four-lane road):
“The traffic that is traveling with the school bus has to stop. The traffic that’s in the opposite direction does not have to stop.”
“Yes. If you are facing the sign you must stop no matter how many lanes.”
“Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus do not need to stop. If you are going in the same direction as the bus, you must stop.”
Epic fail on my part. I’m so glad I know now?
I can’t be the only parent thinking I’m doing everything wrong. (Even if, uh, sometimes I am.) So I thought I would get some answers on other traffic or car safety issues. Over the next couple of weeks, we will talk about a few other areas that we could ALL use a refresher course. If you have any questions YOU are unsure of, please let us know in the comments. Changes are, someone else has the SAME question.
Drive safe, everyone.