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Drive with care around school buses

Are you a safe driver? Maybe you already know of some driving situations that make you uncomfortable. Try to avoid these situations or be extra cautious.
It is that time of year again; school has started. Be extra careful when driving in neighborhoods and close to the schools. The kids may be excited and not paying attention when they cross the roads. Be watchful of school buses. Remember, school buses only travel 45 miles per hour per the North Carolina Drivers Handbook. During the hours that school busses are operating (generally 7-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.), drivers should be extra careful. This includes around the school and in neighborhoods and rural roads when the buses are picking up or dropping off children. When a school bus is stopping and the yellow flashing warning lights turn to a flashing red light, traffic must stop in both directions unless there is a divider on the road or the road has four or more lanes with a fifth center turning lane. An example is Jake Alexander and U.S. 29 (Main Street). Passing a stopped school bus will cost you 5 points on your driving record and increase your car insurance by 120 percent. A $300 premium will increase to $660. Please be careful. It is recommended you stop 100 feet behind or in front of the bus. This is about five car lengths.
Speeding and passing a stopped school bus may also get your drivers license suspended for 30 days for the first violation and 60 days for a second violation. Children waiting for the bus or leaving the bus might be excited and dart out into the street. Even when the school bus is not in sight, children at the bus stop sometimes are playing and will run into the street unexpectedly. Always be careful around school buses. Some neighborhoods may have a sign noting that a bus stop is in the neighborhood.We should constantly refresh our knowledge of safe driving practices. One way to do that is to take a driver safety refresher course. An AARP driver safety course will be offered later this fall at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center. The workbook contains 40 pages of safety tips and much more. A “We Need To Talk- Family Conversations with Older Drivers” will also be held later this fall.

The local AARP chapter meets the first Thursday of each month at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center starting at 1 p.m. The local chapter offers members a variety of community service, education, advocacy and leadership, and fellowship opportunities. Senior citizens over the age of 50 are welcome.
Jerry Shelby lives in Salisbury.

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