Courtney Goodman-Bell, a business agent with Teamsters Local 777 in Lyons, Ill., representing school bus workers, offers the following safe driving tips. They apply whether you're driving a car, a truck or a school bus.
Winter driving can be dangerous for bus drivers. Stay informed and be prepared for weather conditions so you know what to expect. Do your research and be familiar with alternate routes.
In fog, reduce speed and use low beams. In snow, keep moving in order to maintain traction and never take unnecessary risks.
• Dress properly. Winter clothing, hats and boots will keep you warm.
• Slow down. In bad weather conditions, it is more important to keep the passengers safe than it is to stay on schedule.
• Use extra caution in school zones, at bus stops and at bus loading and unloading areas where high snow banks may exist.
• Anticipate poor or dangerous road conditions. Keep greater distances between you and other objects, which will give you more time to react to things you may encounter on your route.
• Drive defensively. Be careful of other motorists when entering intersections and always be aware of the traffic around you.
• Keep your windshield free of ice and snow.
• Know and follow the laws of your state regarding school buses.
• Drive safely - winter climate may cause extreme weather conditions, short daylight and dangerous roads which requires extra effort by every driver.
DON'TSThis article was published in the Winter 2013 issue of the Drive Up Standards newsletter. To see this story and others, check out the newsletter here.
• Don't be in a hurry. Student safety is important.
• Don’t take chances. If there is a concern that something might not be safe, it probably isn’t.
• Don’t proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.
• Don't follow too closely behind vehicles.