WAYNE, Nebraska (KTIV)- We often talk about school bus safety at the beginning of the year when kids go back to class.
But that can be even more important now that the holiday break is over, and kids are boarding the bus in snowy, icy, dark conditions, especially on the highway.
The roads can get nasty at this time of year, and hopefully our driving adjusts accordingly, because Nebraska State Trooper Matt Eischeid says it can have a big impact on kids arriving to school safely.
"The bus drivers do as much as they can to make sure the kids get on the bus safely and also exit a bus safely. They can only do so much, and that's where we do the other part in making sure those kids are safe, too," Trooper Matt Eischeid, Nebraska State Patrol said.
Trooper Eischeid says sometimes, when it comes to kids, situations can arise unexpectedly, especially for those who get picked up along busy rural highways.
"Being a six year old, or a fourteen year old that's leaving a bus, there's no guarantees they're going to look both ways when they get off that bus to go to school or when they're being dropped off to their residence. You just have to be aware that a kid could be darting across the road," Trooper Eischeid said.
Wayne Public School officials say that kids traveling to school are always a little unpredictable, but at this time of year, and out in the rural areas, it's even more dangerous.
"Here we are starting our second semester in January and those factors are still in place. However, now we have some other things that come that the weather brings, as far as the ice, the snow, the cold, and of course in the mornings now, it's dark," Superintendent Mark Lenihan said.
Superintendent Mark Lenihan says that it may sound like a simple suggestion, but just making sure that you're paying attention could be the difference between a normal morning commute and something tragic.
"Just paying special attention to the kids crossing the streets, getting out of vehicles, and of course the buses when they're moving around to make sure that the people are leaving plenty of distance, and making sure they're taking their time," Lenihan said.
Because taking your time could protect some very precious cargo.
"Be aware of the cargo that those buses are holding, which are our sons and daughters," Eischeid said.
Many of the rural highway bus routes are marked.
If a bus's yellow lights are flashing, it's slowing down to a bus stop.
Once those red lights come on, you're required by law to stop behind the bus until it starts to drive away.
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