Well, it’s that time of year. I heard the ‘F’ word (flurries) and the ‘S’ word (snow) in the forecast for this weekend. Winter driving presents a number of different challenges to both you as the operator and to your School Bus. Cold weather can be a real strain on the bus mechanically, and poor driving conditions can test your driving skills. You may experience freezing rain, low temperatures, blowing snow, high wind chill, blizzards and heavy snowfalls.
Here are some reminders about driving in this wonderful time of the year:
- Be responsible and be prepared for any situation.
- Be on time – in cold weather you will need more time to do your pre-trip and more time to get where you are going.
- Adjust your speed for the conditions. On wet, snow-covered or icy roads slow down as more time is required to stop. Get a feel for the road and how slippery it is and adjust your speed accordingly.
- Gently apply brakes to slow down or stop, slamming on the brakes could cause the bus to skid out of control. Do not use the accelerator pedal aggressively as this could also cause the bus to skid.
- Increase your following distance to give yourself more room to stop.
- Be careful on bridges and overpasses as they freeze quicker than regular roads.
Driving with an obstructed windshield or windows is dangerous. Keep the windshield, windows, and mirrors clear of snow and ice. Do not use windshield wipers to do this as you could damage them! Make sure your headlights are clean and your windshield wipers are in good condition.
- Make sure heaters and defrosters are working and keep your windshield washer fluid topped up at all times.
- If your vehicle is equipped with cruise control, do not use it in snowy or icy road conditions because the bus may skid.
- If you become stuck in snow and you have the engine and heaters running, open a window and make sure your tailpipe is free of snow.
- Dress warmly and in layers! Do not keep the bus too warm as students could sweat and become drowsy.