defensive driving for school bus drivers
LEADER’S GUIDE
2518-LDG-E
DEFENSIVE DRIVING FOR
SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS
Quality Safety and Health Products, for Today...and Tomorrow
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
Introduction
The main concern of all bus drivers is to transport students safely to their
destination. Bus drivers must learn a number of defensive driving skills in order to
do so. This includes: driving in difficult weather conditions, driving at night where
low visibility is an issue, driving on steep inclines where braking procedures must
be applied properly, and knowing how to respond to a front tire blow out. In
addition, separate sections will cover how to adjust and use the bus's mirror
systems and how to drive carefully and safely when transporting special needs
students.
The focus of this video is to introduce the many challenges that a bus
driver will face on any given school day. It takes experience over a period of
time to learn all of these important skills. If you do not understand any of these
requirements, please speak with a supervisor. Keep in mind that there are no
stupid questions when the inquiry is about how to keep students safe while riding
on a school bus.
The video is divided into six separate sections:
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•
•
•
•
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Section 1 - Winter Driving
Section 2 - Hills and Inclines
Section 3 - Night Driving
Section 4 - Front Tire Blow Out
Section 5 - Mirror Usage
Section 6 - Special Needs Students
Section 1 - Winter Driving
• When driving a School bus in winter conditions, it is important to be ready
and prepared.
- Check the outside of the bus to make sure mirrors and
lights are working and free of debris.
- Check the inside of the bus to make sure the heaters,
defrosters, and fans are in working order.
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
- Don’t forget to check road conditions and weather
reports before beginning your trip.
- Carry winter driving equipment including: chains,
shovels, flashlights, etc.
• School bus drivers must learn to drive in different weather conditions.
- Oil builds up on roads during the dry season. Be aware
that the first rain or snow will turn the oil into slippery
conditions that could lead to loss of control of the bus.
- Water can freeze onto roads creating a condition called
black ice. Whenever it appears that any type of ice has
formed on a road, try to avoid using your brakes. Ice on
roads is one of the most dangerous conditions for bus
drivers.
- Hydroplaning occurs when water comes between your
tires and the road. To stop this from happening, take
your foot off the accelerator. This slows down the bus
and allows the bus to regain contact with the road.
• Buses are large, heavy vehicles. Understand that it takes a bus 12 times
longer to stop on a wet or slippery road, than it does on a dry road. Here
are safety tips worth remembering:
- When encountering icy or snowy conditions, be sure to leave
greater distances between your bus and the driver in front of you.
Drive according to the conditions of the road and not the speed limit.
- When applying your brakes in winter conditions, make sure not to
apply your brakes too hard. This could result in a slide. Also,
remember to look in your mirrors and be aware of the traffic behind
you.
- Check your mirrors for students approaching the bus. This could
prevent serious accidents from occurring.
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
Section 2 - Hills and Inclines
• A bus driver must understand the configuration of their bus. Each
manufacturer configures their buses differently.
• The bus’s transmission plays a key roll when descending hills.
• Important safety issues to be aware of when descending hills:
- Car sickness among children occurs frequently, so drive
at slower speeds when descending inclines. This will cut
down on the swing action of the bus.
- Always stay to the right when climbing hills and maintain
a constant speed.
- Slow down when cresting a hill.
- Honk your horn when going around blind curves to alert
oncoming traffic.
- Be sure to keep safe distances between your bus and
traffic.
• Breaking methods are critical when descending a steep hill.
- Decide on a target speed and Do Not Let the Bus Exceed the target
speed. If the bus slightly exceeds the target speed, lightly tap the
breaks to slow down the bus.
- If the bus exceeds the target speed by a wide margin, it will be
necessary to apply much greater force to brake or slow down the
bus. However, if the driver constantly exerts maximum pressure on
the brakes, this could lead to brake failure.
- If break failure occurs, try to find an area on the side shoulder to stop
the bus. This is one of the most dangerous procedures that bus
drivers will ever encounter.
- Each school district mandates specific guidelines for drivers to follow
when descending hills. Make sure that you are aware of theses
procedures before driving on hills.
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
Section 3 - Night Driving
• Drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel is deadly. Be sure to pull over
and rest when feeling tired or sleepy. Do not continue to drive. If you do,
you will be putting lives at risk!
• Night blindness is a very serious safety issue. If your eyes take a very long
time to adjust to night driving conditions, alert your supervisor.
• Learn where all your bus’s switches are before you drive at night. Fumbling
with switches can distract you from the road and can lead to an accident.
• A driver can’t see beyond the reach of their headlights, so when driving at
night, drive slowly and calibrate your speed to the conditions of the road.
• When driving at night, objects that appear in your mirrors will appear to be
further away than they actually are.
• Leave plenty of room between the bus and the traffic in front of your bus.
• Pay attention to road signs, traffic hazards or any other type of
impediment.
• When using mirrors at night, remember depth perception is extremely
limited.
Section 4 Front Tire Blowout
• Tire maintenance
- Avoid rubbing tires against the curb. This could lead to
tire damage.
- Keep all tires properly inflated.
- Report any imperfections or potential tire defects to
maintenance immediately.
- A bulging tire indicates a potential tire issue. Report it
immediately.
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
• Always keep your hands in the proper driving position when driving. This is
important because when a tire blows out, the steering wheel can whipsaw
causing broken wrists or fingers.
• Procedure to follow when a tire blowout occurs:
- When a blowout occurs, do not hit your breaks. This will
force the bus to the side of the road and could possibly
lead to a rollover.
- Instead, hit the accelerator. This will force the bus's
weight to shift to the rear of the bus.
- To gradually bring the bus to a stop, engage the spring
brake, not the serviced brake. As we previously
mentioned, engaging the spring brake could cause a
bus rollover.
- Check with your school district and make sure that you
follow the procedures mandated by your district.
Section 5 – Mirror Usage
• Bus drivers must learn to rely on their mirrors.
• Mirror systems on the bus includes: the flat mirror, the convex
mirror, the cross view mirror and the rear view or student
mirror.
- Each one of these mirrors is designed to cover a
specific angle of view.
- Bus drivers must understand the specific areas that
each mirror is designed to cover.
- Mirrors must be properly adjusted to fit the size of the
bus driver.
- Mirrors must be adjusted to cover the proper angle of
view.
- The owners manual for each bus will indicate proper
adjustment.
- Talk with your supervisor and ask questions if your
aren't sure of any issue.
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
Section 6 – Special Needs Students
• School bus driver will need to be aware of the limitations of special
needs students. Here are some of the issues that school bus drivers
should be aware of.
- Tender loving care is the motto for special needs bus
drivers. This motto means that bus drivers must drive
their special needs bus slowly and carefully, in order to
avoid sudden stops or rapid acceleration. Special needs
students often lack upper body strength and drivers
must be aware of this limitation.
- Never turn quickly, never stop suddenly and never drive
aggressively. A special needs bus driver has a unique
responsibility to the students they are transporting. By
adhering to the principles of tender loving care, they will
be insuring a higher quality of care when transporting
these students.
- Prior to transporting special needs students, drivers
should practice how to drive their bus according to the
practices we just mentioned. Each district will have
different parameters for implementing these practices
and drivers should follow them or ask their supervisors
about the suggested guidelines of their district.
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
Test Questions
1. When driving in winter conditions what tool(s) should you have?
a. Shovel
b. Flashlight
c. Chains
d. All of the Above
2. When a bus starts hydroplaning, the bus driver must immediately accelerate.
True_______ False_______
3. Always stay to the right when climbing hills and slow down when cresting a hill.
True_______ False_______
4. Once mirrors are adjusted by a qualified driver, they should never be
readjusted to fit the size of a new driver.
True_______ False_______
5. If a school bus driver starts to feel drowsy, he should stop and buy a cup of
coffee because coffee is a stimulant.
True_______ False_______
6. It’s okay to place your hands inside the steering wheel because it gives you
better leverage in case the bus has a front tire blowout.
True_______ False_______
7. What is the first thing you do when a front tire blows out?
a. Engage the service brake
b. Hit Accelerator and engage the spring brake
c. Take your foot off the accelerator
d. None of The Above
8. When driving special needs students, use the same driving procedures you
use when driving regular ed students.
True_______ False_______
9. Target speed refers to the suggested speed limit on posted signs on the
highway.
True_______ False_______
10. Black ice is difficult to detect because it blends into the color of the road.
True_______ False_______
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
ANSWERS:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
d
False
True
False
False
False
b
False
False
True
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
106 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(P) 919-544-6663 (F) 919-544-5800
Trainingnetwork.com
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