School is back in session here in Butte and across Montana, as the increased rush hour traffic will attest, and that means dozens of school buses will be out and about on our roads and highways every day.  And school buses make many stops along their daily routes.  Here's what the Montana Highway Patrol says you need to do when driving near school buses.

First of all, watch for red flashing lights.  If you see them, it is unlawful to pass the school bus.  When on a two-lane street or on an undivided highway, vehicles travelling in both directions must stop.  If on a raised median highway only vehicles travelling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

School Bus
Always watch for red or amber flashing lights at the rear of the school bus.
Photo: Townwquare Labs/Getty Images - Steven_Kriemadis

Also, you need to be aware of the amber flashing lights on the bus which means it is slowing down and preparing to stop.  Again, passing the bus at this time is illegal and dangerous.  Remember that at railroad crossings, school buses must stop, open the door and the driver must look in both directions.  Again, passing the bus at this time is illegal.

Stop Sign on School Bus
Photo: Townsquare Labs/Getty Images -

What about residential stops?  The law says that at residential stops, vehicles travelling in either direction must stop within 30 feet of the school bus.  And when stopping at a 4-way stop vehicles cannot turn right, left or travel past the school bus.

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