As COVID continues — and the new school year begins — the Westport Police Department urges all drivers and pedestrians to exercise extra care.
As an added “incentive,” officers will be extra-vigilant for violators.
The department urges families to discuss these rules together:
As COVID-19 has significantly altered our schools’ scheduling with staggered student arrival and dismissal times, motorists will for the first time share the roads throughout the day with school buses making frequent stops, as well as children who are walking or biking to school.
This year more than ever, we strongly urge commuters to allow extra time to prepare for traffic delays. Please remain vigilant and alert around school zones, bus stops and school buses. Obey the school bus laws of Connecticut, which include slowing down and preparing to stop for yellow flashing school bus lights and stopping for red flashing school bus lights.
In neighborhoods with school zones or when backing into a roadway, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.
Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
Learn the “flashing signal light system” used by school bus drivers to alert motorists of pending actions:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists on both sides of the roadway must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
Get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
When the bus approaches, stand at least 3 giant steps away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 5 giant steps ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps do not get caught in the handrails or doors.
Never walk behind the bus.
Walk at least 3 giant steps away from the side of the bus.
If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
Follow instructions given by school crossing guards. Do not cross until they have stopped traffic completely and have advised it is safe to cross.