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You’re in a hurry when you see the flashing red lights and stop sign on the school bus facing you. The kids are all headed away from the road. What could it hurt to drive past?

A lot — especially if a child dashes out across the road at the last minute.

The best advice is to stay put and wait for the lights to stop flashing and the stop sign to retract, signaling that it’s now safe to continue.

With Highland Lakes schools resuming classes, buses will be on the road and school zones will be busy once again. Llano Independent School District’s students started August 15, Burnet ISD’s head back August 19, and Marble Falls ISD’s return August 21.

Drivers can expect school buses to be on the roads, even well before the first bell rings.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, drivers must stop for a school bus’ flashing red lights, regardless of which direction the bus driver is headed. Violations can lead to up to a $1,000 fine.

The most dangerous area for students is the 10 feet around the school bus, according to the National Safety Council. Drivers should pay close attention to kids entering and exiting buses from several possible directions. Also, be aware that some students are as young as 4 years old, making them hard to see.

Along with bus traffic, drivers will notice an increase of vehicles around campuses, particularly in the morning and afternoon hours when schools start and let out. The first few days of the school year can be the most challenging as parents and students familiarize themselves with the drop-off and pick-up areas and procedures.

Everyone needs to practice patience.

Also, heed school zone signs. Some school zones are only active for certain periods in the morning and afternoon, while others are active throughout the school day.

The best advice is to take it slow and pay attention around schools, buses, and bus stops.