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How drivers can safely share the road with school buses

When the school season starts in New Jersey, residents need to be more careful behind the wheel. Children can dart out into the street, and not always at a crosswalk; school buses will become a fixture on the roads; and school zones will require drivers to slow down. With the following tips, safety-minded drivers will be able to reduce their chances of an accident.

First of all, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus on an undivided highway. Once the bus turns on its red lights and extends its stop arm, drivers are to stop. If the bus turns on its yellow lights, drivers must slow down. A good habit is to slow down whenever a school bus is near. Drivers should keep at least a 10-foot safety zone around the bus when children are getting on or off it.

Perhaps the most important tip is to limit distractions. This means anything that takes one's attention off the road, such as using a cellphone, eating and adjusting the audio system. Other safety practices are useful for times when traffic is heavy, especially holiday seasons. These practices include checking the mirrors, watching taillights and looking out for any cars coming out of driveways or parking lots. Drivers should also stick to familiar routes when possible.

When drivers neglect safe practices and get into motor vehicle accidents, the other driver may be eligible for compensation. In New Jersey, those who are 50 percent or less at fault for a two-car crash might choose to file a claim. A lawyer may have third parties gather proof against the defendant, which might include the police report and physical evidence at the crash site. The lawyer may then be able to negotiate for a fair settlement, leaving litigation as a last resort.

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