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The Science Of Visibility: Why School Buses Are Always Yellow

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The iconic yellow of school buses isn’t just a bright and cheerful color; it’s a carefully chosen hue for safety and visibility. Known officially as “National School Bus Glossy Yellow,” this color was selected in 1939 at a conference organized by Dr. Frank W. Cyr, often referred to as the “Father of the Yellow School Bus.” Read on!

The Science of Visibility: Luminous Yellow for Maximum Safety

closeup of bus front.
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The color of a school bus isn’t just a random choice; it’s a calculated decision grounded in the science of visibility. The specific shade of yellow used for school buses is a hue that’s highly detectable to the human eye. In fact, the human eye processes this color faster than any other color, making it the most conspicuous in the peripheral vision. This is crucial in the early mornings and late afternoons when school buses are most active, and children are commuting.

Historical Context: The Standardization of School Bus Yellow

school bus stop sign and bus.
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In 1939, at the Frank W. Cyr’s national conference, education specialists and transportation experts convened to establish a uniform set of standards for the nation’s school buses. Among the most significant outcomes of this gathering was the selection of a uniform color for all school buses, which would come to be known as “National School Bus Glossy Yellow.” This decision was made to ensure that school buses were immediately recognizable to motorists and pedestrians from a distance.

Psychological Impact: Yellow as a Signal of Caution

kids getting on school bus.
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The color yellow is universally associated with caution and attention. This psychological impact is leveraged in the color of school buses to signal to other drivers that children are present, and heightened awareness and reduced speed are necessary. The boldness of the yellow shade serves as an intuitive alert to the public, even for those who may not be familiar with traffic laws or road safety protocols.

Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to Safety Standards

driver doing safety check of bus.
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Regulations dictate that school buses must adhere to a specific color to comply with safety standards. This ensures a level of uniformity that is recognized across state lines, reinforcing the importance of the color as a national safety standard. The adherence to these regulations is not just about aesthetics but about maintaining a high level of safety for school children across the country.

Enhanced Safety Features: Contrasting Black Lettering

back of bus.
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The use of bold black lettering on the yellow background is another strategic choice. This contrast is not merely for the sake of legibility but also contributes to the bus’s visibility. The black and yellow contrast ensures that the vehicle can be identified as a school bus from a considerable distance, allowing other road users ample time to slow down and drive with caution.

Maintenance and Upkeep: Yellow’s Practical Benefits

bus driving from left.
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From a practical standpoint, the yellow color also has benefits for maintenance and upkeep. Dirt and grime are less noticeable on this bright color, which can be particularly beneficial during the winter months when roads are often messy. Additionally, the reflective quality of the yellow paint enhances the visibility of school buses in the early morning and late evening light, which are peak times for student transportation.

The Role of Tradition: A Legacy of Safety

bus on city street.
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Over the decades, the yellow school bus has become an iconic symbol in American culture. This tradition reinforces the identity of the school bus, making it an easily recognizable icon of student safety. The legacy of the yellow school bus is not just in its color but in the commitment to safety that it represents.

Conclusion: A Commitment to Student Safety

Girl standing in front of bus.
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The iconic yellow of school buses is a testament to a collective commitment to student safety. It’s a color chosen for its unparalleled visibility, psychological impact, and practical benefits. As guardians of our children’s daily commute, we recognize the importance of this distinctive hue. It’s a color that stands out in the sea of vehicles on the road, a beacon of safety in the bustling world of traffic.

Don’t Fall For These 17 Foods That Pretend To Be Healthy

coconut oil.
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Have you heard the term “Dr. Google”? That’s when you turn to search engines and the Internet to provide health and medical information – and unless you know how to vet sources, it is a mine field of faulty information. Here are 17 foods that you might have heard are “healthy”, but we have the whole story. PS: the moment a food becomes a trend, research carefully. We’re looking at you bulletproof coffee!

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17 Of The Most Expensive Foods In The World: Would You Pay This Much To Eat Any Of These?

white truffle.
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These days our food budget is not going very far, even for everyday foods. And yet, there are still those who seek out extravagant foods, regardless of price. I guess we can live vicariously through these pictures. Maybe someday someone will bestow a 4-pound white truffle upon us, but until then, this will have to suffice.

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19 Of The World’s Most Overrated Foods

flamin' hot Cheetos.
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We have foods we love, and those we won’t touch. We all have our own likes and dislikes, but what are the most overrated foods? That was the question posed on this Reddit thread by Even_Cause_3478. There were a lot of opinions. Some made sense to us, and some were things we had never thought of before!

What is the most overrated food in your opinion?

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