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Stopping for school bus?
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Stopping for school bus?

When a school bus is stopped--red lights on--on a four-lane road (not divided), does opposing traffic have to stop? I see some people stop, and others just go.

I live in Ohio. I stop anyway just to be on the safe side.


Hi Alexandra,

I see this question a lot! You were smart to reveal that you live in Ohio, because this law can vary from state to state and in different countries.

It's funny and amusing how the answers are all over the board on this one. It just goes to show you that very few actually know what the law says. First let me compliment you on erring on the side of caution and stopping for a bus on the opposite side of a four lane road. I had faced the same dilemma before myself and I also wondered if I had to stop. (And I also live in Ohio) One time, not long after I did stop in this situation, the driver of the bus actually waved me on. So I checked into it with some law enforcement friends of mine...

It may surprise many, but "lookin_...", "moncalvini", and "Mr.Knowitall" have it absolutely correct. You do not have to stop on a four lane road if you are traveling in the opposite direction. The road does not have to have a center lane or be a divided highway. If it's 4 lanes or more with 2-way traffic. You are okay to proceed with caution. (This is because it is also ILLEGAL for the children to cross in front on the bus when the road has 4 or more lanes.) The BMV site is a bit confusing because it implies more than one roadway, but the actual ORC defines it rather well. See section 4511.75, paragraphs (c), and (d). C-Permits traffic in oposite direction to proceed and D-Limits the taking on and discharge of passengers to the side of the road the bus stops on.

Between you, me, and the rest of the 1 million + people who participate on this site, I'd still slow way down for this situation.

Thanks again for asking and being specific about where you lived so we could give you good answers.

Be safe. God Bless.

If in doubt.......stop....you will not get in trouble for being safe.

No, you do not have to. It is illegal for a bus to deposit kids that must walk across 4 lanes, they can only be ones getting off on that side. The driver must drop kids from the other side by turning around.

I know in Alaska you must stop unless there is a meridian in the middle. But check with your local laws. They may vary.

I live in Ohio and ride a bus everyday. We live off of a 4 lane road. Fortunately, I do not have to exit there. But we have a few stops along that road and the kids are not allowed to cross the street. They have to use the crosswalks.

I have noticed that some cars stop, must most do not on the 4 lane road. I have even seen police cars around and they have never pulled anyone over.

Does that help?

The answer to this important question is rather straight forward, you are not required to stop on the ooppoiste side of a four lane (or more) highway. Please note the link below for more specific language on the topic.

That said, depending on the conditions (traffic behind you, the level of use, etc.) I can't disagree with showing some caution and if the setting is appropriate, even stopping.

No you do not have to stop. The bus isn't allowed to let kids cross a 4 lane road. You can cause an accident stopping in traffic that way.....go to your local DMV and pick up a copy of the road rules......No wonder my insurance is so high....drivers like you.....This is from the OHIO BMV HAND- BOOK

School Buses: Upon meeting or overtaking any bus stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children or people with disabilities, all drivers must stop at least 10 feet from the front or rear of the bus and may not proceed until such bus resumes motion or the driver is signaled to proceed by the school bus driver.

If driving on a 4-lane roadway, the driver need not stop if on the other roadway.

Four lanes undivided yes you need to stop. But I think most school districts won't let students cross 4 lanes if they don't have to. Kodos to you for stopping

I'm not sure of the laws, but I think that you should anyway for safety

Sara Girl
I think if the road is not divided you have to stop. If it were two lanes you would, so four lanes should not make a difference. If it is divided in the middle than you don;t have to stop

I am not sure about other states, but, in Wisconsin if the highway is not divided, the opposing traffic must stop if the bus is stopped to pick up or discharge passengers. The reason is that it is possible that those passengers may have to cross the road to get to their home. Most of the time bus drivers try to avoid this and discharge only to the right on a four lane highway.

parkituse j
not sure about a four way,call the Ohio police ask them.

everyone going in each direction must stop...some of the children will have to cross the road...

When the fold out stop sign is flipped open then all lanes on that side with the bus have to stop including the opposite side of traffic because it means the kids are going to cross the street.....if no flip out sign is opened but just the flashing lights than just the only closest lane to the bus has to stop and the rest of the lanes may continue

Yes you would have to stop. The only time you wouldn't is if there was a median.

Lisa E
Each year, the Ohio State Highway Patrol observes National School Bus Safety Week, this year the dates are from October 16 through 22. This year’s theme, “Flashing Red Means Stop Ahead,” reminds motorists that they are required to stop for stopped school buses that are displaying flashing red lights and an extended stop arm. Motorists approaching from either direction are required to stop at least 10 feet from a stopped school bus until the bus resumes motion. If a school bus is stopped on a road divided into four or more lanes, only traffic driving in the same direction as the bus must stop.

I don't live in Ohio, but I hope that people have enough sense to stop period. If they are on the same street and are going to go past where the bus is letting children out and the busses red lights are flashing, it seems to me that it shouldn't matter if they are oncoming or same direction - they should stop while the red lights are flashing!!!! Children trust that it is safe to cross, until someone blows through it and thats it!

Fred C
If the road is not divided, traffic both ways must stop until the lights stop flashing. On a divided highway, traffic the other side of the divide does not have to stop. The person that posted the link relied on the following. "If driving on a 4-lane roadway, the driver need not stop if on the other roadway" If the road is not divided, there is no other roadway is there?

It's good that you stop because the clowns that don't are breaking the law! The whole idea is to make sure the kids can safely cross the road.

Thank you for being a safe and considerate driver. Wish there were more like you out there.

Both sides of the traffic has to stop.

Anytime redlights are flashing on a school bus and that stop sign comes out both sides of the street must stop, you must treat it as a red light. Just becuase some people are careless and stupid and want to plow through let them. The reason being is if one of those kids lives across the street and darts across that street unexpectantly and if your barreling through with red lights flashing and you hit a kid, guess where your going, thats right prison for the next five years. Plus if a cop catches you it's a ticket. So your doing the right thing by stopping don't worry about the people around you or behind you.

Yes, you stop. Laws.

Andrew L
According to the Ohio laws, all sides of traffic must stop.

david z
you HAVE to stop!

no matter what!

if theres a school bus there ALL LANES STOP!

in alaska it is 10 points on your license.
you only get 12

They all suppose to stop. The others will get ticketed if a cop catches them. Period. Anywhere.

Waylon V
unless there's a physical bearer(guardrails concrete wall ext.) you have to stop

My child's bus stop is at a 4-way stop intersection. My child must cross the street after exiting the bus to come home. For the past two weeks a man (who is picking his child up from another school) has been going in front of the bus (he is driving from the north going south) and the bus stopped is coming from the west but driving east. This man does not stop for the bus and the children crossing are run off the road by him. If another driver is in front of him when the bus stops and puts on the stopping flashing lights and the stop sign, he honks his horn for those other drivers in front of him to go. This man has gone right in front of the bus as children are attempting to cross the street. I had had enough and was waiting for him on Friday. I told him he must stop for the bus and he called me a terrible name. I got his license and called the sheriff (I live in Canton, Ohio). Guess what, the sheriff said this man could do what he did, and that he was permitted to drive in front of the stopped school bus even as children were exiting and attempting to cross the street. I informed the sheriff that I respectfully disagreed with him. I believe he is incorrect. Any comments out there on this scenario. The bus stop is like this: + , a four way stop. Thanks for any input, I am so sad that if this sheriff is correct I have been misinforming my son since he was little that these vehicles must stop when the bus stops and has the flashing lights and sign out.

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