It was a car versus bus kind of morning

Ever see an account of someone hitting a school bus? And you think, “it’s a bus, it’s huge, it’s bright yellow and it has flashing lights, how do you hit it?” I don’t have sympathy for people who manage to hit, sideswipe or otherwise endanger a conveyance full of children.

However, I discovered it’s possible for a school bus to hit you. I wasn’t in an accident, but a school bus driver tied up an intersection for roughly five minutes while trying to fit her bus in a too-small space.

Before you say #notallbusdrivers, there are bus drivers worthy of love. My children ride the bus home, and their afternoon bus driver is a treasure. Carl is cautious, thinks ahead and manages to drive while also keeping an eye on the children. Bless you, Carl.

There was a bad snow in January and our district was one of two that didn’t release the children early. Carl put his snow chains on at the garage — cautious and prepared — so the children only got home 15 minutes late, instead of 45 minutes as most did. And they were only that late because they were stuck in traffic.

I am not a driver-hater.

However, one did her best to change my mind Friday morning. I was driving the children to school, because getting them up before 6 a.m. is a no-starter.

I wanted to turn left, and the driver also wanted to turn left. These streets are residential, narrow and the stop sign is at the intersection, not a car-length back, which would make a left turn for buses more practical. I will give the driver all of these things.

She tried making the left turn. The bus did not fit. She pulled right up to my front bumper and I saw for myself how large and yellow a bus is as the grill filled my window to the exclusion of all else. My car is tiny; the bus would win, if I wanted to make it a contest. I didn’t.

Why didn’t I back up? I did. However, there were five or six cars behind me and I could only back up so far. The laws of physics prevents my car and another car from occupying the same space at the same time. Yet, the driver kept coming, motioning I should back up, although, from her higher seat, she should have seen I couldn’t.

The bus was catty-corner across the intersection, preventing through traffic, while more cars piled up behind me. The intersection was choked with 30 or so cars, most probably parents dropping off their children.

And the bus kissed my front bumper. It was ridiculous.

I threw the car in park, got out and motioned to those behind me they should back up. No one would get out alive otherwise. The cars backed up, I got in, threw the car in reverse and backed up a few feet. The bus cleared my front bumper by a whisker.

As the bus (finally!) passed, Sass said, “oh, that’s so-and-so, she break-checked us on a school trip once.”

… who would’ve guessed?

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com)


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