Everyone knows that you have to stop for the school bus when its lights are flashing, but did you know that there are even more rules for navigating the road with a bus that could wind you in some serious trouble?

More and more school buses in the Hudson Valley are being equipped with cameras to make sure rulebreakers are caught. Blowing past a stopped school bus will get you a hefty fine and five points on your license, which is almost halfway to losing the privilege of driving in New York State. You could also serve time in jail. With that in mind, you'll want to memorize these lesser-known driving laws that could land you in serious trouble this school year.

You must remain 20 feet behind a school bus

When those lights start blinking and the bus stops, you better be far enough away. New York law states that cars must be a full 20 feet away from the front or the rear of a stopped school bus. Creeping up from behind or stopping too late for an approaching school bus could land you a costly ticket.

Yellow lights mean "slow down"

Before a school bus turns on its red lights signaling you to stop, yellow lights will com on warning you to slow down. It may be tempting to speed up when you see the flashing yellow lights to avoid having to wait for the bus, but that's a huge mistake. The yellow lights mean it's time to slow down and come to a stop to avoid winding up to close to the bus or completely blowing through the light.

Students getting on school bus

Yes, you must stop for a bus even if it's on the other side of a barrier

It's a ridiculous law that many other states don't follow, but in New York State you must stop for a school bus even if it's on the opposite side of a major roadway. That means if there is a concrete median separating your side of the road you still have to legally stop for a bus with its lights on. I've seen this almost cause major accidents on busy roads such as Route 9, with some people slamming on their brakes and others blowing right on by when a stopped bus is barely visible on the opposite side of traffic.

Even after children are safely across the road you still may not be able to pass

You've patiently waited for kids to get off the bus and slowly make their way across the road but the lights are still blinking as the bus just sits there. Is it ok to pass when the coast is clear? Absolutely not. The bus driver may be helping another student off the bus or attending to a disturbance. As long as those lights are on you have no choice but to remain patient. Those lights are on for a good reason and if you're caught on camera passing the bus you're going to wind up with five points and a fine. While there's no law against honking the horn, we don't suggest doing that either.

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