Bus Safety Program Winter Driving • Think • Safety • First • Not • Speed • First • Children are our most important resource SAFETY
Safety Training Presentation WINTER DRIVING Mustafa Abdullah Safety & Training Instructor
Adverse Weather Conditions TOPICS of DISCUSSION Winter Clothing Braking On Slippery Roads Driving in Rain Driving on Ice Driving in Snow Winter Driving Tips
Regardless of the weather condition, there are certain things you should always do before you head out on your route Plan for the unexpected. a. Don’t get blasé about driving a school bus b. You should always anticipate that, despite your best preparations, something could go wrong. c. Remember that you aren’t in your own car, a school bus handles and responds very differently than a car. d. You have to apply different driving rules when you are in a school bus
On your route, there is one very important rule SLOW DOWN! Here are two more reminders that apply to all adverse weather conditions 1. When you are in a difficult driving situation, let your students know. a. Tell them you need their cooperation. b. Ask them to be quite and to behave. 2. Remind your students to stand further back from the road when waiting for the bus.
GOOD THINGS TO KNOW There are some things you should know about regardless of the type of adverse weather condition you are driving in. What are the right clothes to wear? What is the correct way to slow down when driving a school bus? When do I use the strobe light if my bus has one?
The Right Clothes The way you dress can affect the operation of your bus. Wear layered clothing instead of a big bulky coat. The layers can be removed and reapplied as the temperature fluctuates. A bulky coat can restrict movement. Your hat is critical, it shouldn’t cover your ears. This enhances your ability to hear over the noise of fans, heaters, defrosters etc. It should have a visor, this shades your eyes from sun glare. A dark visor is best.
Sunglasses are important year round. The glare off of snow can be blinding. Wear gloves with leather or suede palms, wool gloves get slippery when wet. Wear insulated socks and winter shoes, cold feet feel numb and this can affect foot movement and how you drive the bus. Avoid heavy boots, they are harder to move fast from gas to brake pedal and in close quarters can affect foot movement. Always wear non-slip soled shoes. Keep extra clothing in the bus in case the temperature falls, or your clothing gets wet. SN
Slowing The Bus There are several things you should know About the breaking system on your bus. First determine whether you have ABS or non-ABS brakes on your bus, these two types of systems perform very differently on slippery surfaces. Non-ABS braking system: press and release the brake pedal many times, this is referred to as “pumping”. If you simply press and hold the brake pedal, the brakes will lock-up and you will be unable to steer the vehicle. Depending on the speed you are traveling, you may well go into a skid. SN
ABS braking system. ABS braking systems use wheel speed sensors to identify when a wheel is locking. If the system senses that a wheel is locking, it automatically applies and releases the brakes several times per second to prevent lockup. Because of the sensors you should NOT pump ABS system brakes, you simply apply steady and continuous pressure. With ABS, no matter how hard the pedal is pressed, each wheel is prevented from locking up. This prevents skidding (and allows the driver to steer while stopping on slippery surfaces). However, this does not create a situation of “steering as usual”. In snow or ice, your steering will still be impaired. You will still need to allow a greater following distance with ABS brakes.
Braking on a downgrade. When braking on a downgrade you must take into consideration the affect of brake fade. Brake fade is a temporary condition caused by high temperatures generated by repeated or continuous “hard braking”. What should you do to avoid brake fade while you are slowing down? First, gear down before you get to an incline or situation where you need to stop. Use your transmission to slow the bus down. Engine compression through your transmission is the first source of braking power. Descend a long steep grade in a lower gear than you would use to climb the hill. If the bus is loaded use an even lower gear.
Check your brakes • Make sure that they are working properly • Remember that, when water gets into drum brakes, it reduces their efficiency • Brake linings could become wet resulting in• Less braking• Uneven braking• Grabbing brakes• Reduced braking control • You may have to “ride” the brakes slightly for a short distance to dry them out and to restore normal braking • Slow down! • Wet roads can double your stopping distance so reduce your speed accordingly.
Adverse Driving Situations What are some of the adverse driving situations that a school bus driver might encounter on their route? • RAIN • ICE • SNOW • FOG • WET LEAVES SN
RAIN SN • You must drive slower to be able to stop in the same distance as on a dry road • Slow down gradually • Avoid aggressive braking or steering • Turn on your headlights, strobe lights, 4-way flashers • Double your following distance • Practice defensive driving • Give other vehicles a lane • Be especially careful driving through puddles • When pulling onto a road, allow extra space for oncoming traffic • You need to compensate for the possibility that your wheels might spin on the wet pavement as you accelerate
Watch the oncoming traffic for spraying water • Traffic can splash water from puddles across the median and on the wind-shields of cars in your lane • What to do if you find yourself hydroplaning • Don’t use the brakes to slow down • First, release the accelerator • This allows the wheels to turn freely • Your vehicle will start to slow down • Downshift one gear Anticipate problems in the first few minutes after it starts raining or in a heavy downpour. SN
The first 10 minutes after the rain begins are the most dangerous. The rain mixes with oil from motor vehicles and oil from new asphalt. The result is a slippery roadway. After a while, the rain washes off the oil and the slippery conditions disappear. If it rains heavily, there can be moving water on the roadway, even after it stops raining. This creates a situation where hydroplaning is possible. When your school bus hydroplanes, the tires lose contact with the road and have little or no traction. You may not be able to steer or to brake. Hydroplaning can happen at speeds as low as 30 mph if there is a lot of water.
In severe rain a school bus driver should reduce his or her speed accordingly. Because of its weight a school bus will seldom hydroplane. One reason it will hydroplane is if it is going too fast. • 1. Check your tires. Keep tire pressure at the suggested amount. Another reason a school bus might hydroplane is low tire pressure. • 2. Check that your windshield wipers are working properly. • 3. Check that you have plenty of washer fluid. • 4. Check that window defrosters are working properly. • 5. Check your brakes. Make sure that they are working properly. Remember that, when water gets into drum brakes, it reduces their efficiency. SN
You may have to drag the brakes slightly for a short distance to dry them out and to restore normal braking. • Slow down. Wet roads can double your stopping distance.
Types of snowy conditions • Snow flurries: Intermittent snowfall that may reduce visibility. • Snow showers: Intermittent snowfall but heavier than flurries. • Snow squalls: Brief, intense snowfall with gusty winds. • Normal snowfall: Steady falling of snow. • Lake effect snow: Snow that falls downwind of the Great Lakes when a cold wind blows over the warmer water surface. • Heavy snow: 4 to 6 inches in 12 hours or 6 inches or more in 24 hours. • Blowing and drifting snow: Strong winds and poor visibility for a lengthy period of time. • Blizzard: Steady snowfall with blowing snow and sustained winds of 35 mph or higher. SNOW SN
You should anticipate additional problems when driving in snow: • 1. As the snow deepens • 2. When the snow mixes with wind • 3. When the snow falls on top of previous snow or ice • 4. When temperatures are near freezing • Before you drive • Check the roads yourself. • Check that your windshield wipers are working properly. If not, replace them. • Check that you have plenty of washer fluid. • Check that window defrosters are working properly. • On your route • Slow down gradually. Anticipate limited visibility. Watch snow banks along the side of the road.
Remind students to stay off the snow banks when waiting for the school bus. Turns may be more difficult when snow banks limit visibility. • Beware of snow drifts. Conventional buses may be able to go through a fairly good sized snow drift. A van may not be able to go through drifts. Watch for hazards in the snow drift (solid objects or previously plowed and now frozen snow). • You may need to periodically get out and scrape the windshields and lights and mirrors.
High Winds Strong winds affect the handling of the school bus. They make it hard to steer the school bus. They make it hard to keep the school bus on the road or within a travel lane on the road.
The side of a school bus acts like a sail on a sailboat. Strong winds can push the school bus sideways. They can even move the school bus off the road or, in extreme conditions, tip it over. • In addition to the winds themselves, strong winds can also blow around debris that can hit the school bus and even break windows. • Gusts are often worse than sustained winds. They can take you by surprise. You can’t predict their strength. • Whether windy conditions will affect handling depends on the: • Size of the bus • Geographic area (open plains, between hills) • Number of usable lanes • Number of other vehicles using the road SN
Expect strong winds in rainstorms, dust storms, blizzards, and as a cold front passes. • If you are feeling the wind affect the handling of the school bus in low places, expect the wind to be worse in higher and more exposed places. • There are some places to be especially wary of if the wind is high. • a. Watch out crossing bridges and overpasses. • b. Watch out crossing between hills. • c. Watch the open straightaway when there are gusting winds. • On your route if you are caught in strong winds • Keep a strong grip on the steering wheel. Anticipate gusts. • Do what you feel comfortable doing. Either slow down to lessen the effect of the wind on the school bus or pull off the road and wait. Watch for blowing debris or falling trees or power lines.
How ice forms • Sleet: Raindrops that freeze into pellet before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces and does not stick. Sleet can accumulate like snow. • Freezing rain or drizzle: Rain falls onto a surface that is below freezing. Freezing rain forms a coating or glaze of ice. • Hail: Irregularly formed chunks or stones of ice. Hail can accumulate like snow. It is usually not a cause of slippery conditions, although it can cause damage to vehicle exteriors and windows. • Ice fog: Ice fog is fog that develops in an area where the temperature is at or below freezing. The moisture in the fog collects as ice on windshields and lights, severely restricting the ability to see or be seen. ICE
Melted water that has frozen: Either rain that has frozen after a quick cold turn or snow or ice that has thawed and refrozen. • Types of icing conditions • Black ice: A very thin and often almost invisible layer of ice. Black ice is clear enough that you can see the road beneath it. It makes the road look wet and shiny. • Glazed ice: What you would get from freezing rain or ice fog. • Melting ice: A layer of ice with water on top. Wet ice is much more slippery than ice that is not wet. • Frozen slush: Snow that has started to melt and gotten very soft and then refrozen. The result is an icy and uneven driving surface.
You should anticipate icing conditions: • When the ground is cold and there is some moisture from the sky • When the snow has melted and refrozen • When the roads are wet and the temperature drops sharply • Look for ice first: • On bridges and overpasses • In shaded areas • In low-lying areas • On hilltops where the wind can blow light snow which then collects and freezes. • If there is ice in the air (from freezing rain or ice fog), be sure to run your defroster. You may need to periodically get out and scrape the windshield and lights.
Fall Driving Tips Autumn leaves drift by the window and right into the street. Driving in the fall presents its own colorful set of problems. Decreasing daylight and wet leaves create challenges for the unsuspecting driver. Patches of fallen leaves can be just as treacherous as patches of ice. Fallen leaves retain large amounts of water and can create a slippery surface. Drive slowly through them and avoid hard or panic braking.Fall brings the first frost. Be aware of slippery conditions that occur with frost. At freezing or near freezing temperatures, the moisture on bridges and overpasses will become ice much more quickly than the approach roadway. The roadways hold heat and the bridges do not; you can go from wet roadway to ice in just a fraction of a second.
Frost, sunshine, wet leaves on the road, school buses, and kids horsing around on the way to school can be a disaster if they come together at the wrong time. Please recognize the hazard and drive accordingly. Fall weather can present challenges to drivers. Rain, fog, sleet and wet snow require full driver attention. Remember the "two-second rule" when following other drivers, and in severe weather increase your following distance. If you are being tailgated, let the other driver pass. As you know, the sun rises later and sets earlier as fall approaches. Your commute to and from work may find you driving directly into the sun. Fall driving in New Jersey can be beautiful but glare can also make it dangerous. Be sure your windows are clean, inside and out, and have sunglasses handy. SN
The decreasing daylight may also mean that some drivers will be driving in twilight or dark conditions. A driver's vision, including depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision, is compromised in darkened conditions . The human body becomes more relaxed and less alert in the dark, becoming more easily lulled and drowsy. Prepare your eyes for night driving. When you step out of a brightly lit building into a darkened environment it takes anywhere between two and five minutes for your eyes to begin adjusting to the change in light conditions and it takes a full 30 minutes to fully adjust. Allow your eyes that little extra time to adjust before driving into the dark.
Winter Driving Tips • Winter driving conditions can change very quickly, be prepared for such changes as: • visibility, (fog, blowing snow), • road surfaces, (ice patches, wet leaves), • road debris (fallen tree limbs, downed wires, dead animals) • Animals entering the road (deer season) • Weather changes (wind gusts, snow squalls)
Winter driving skills are used only a few months each year, so it is important to remind drivers to prepare for snow and ice on the roadways. The best advice for winter driving is simply to slow down and avoid unnecessary risks. During winter weather, increased attention to safe driving techniques is critical. On ice or snow-covered roads, be sure to accelerate slowly to prevent traction loss. Passing lanes are not typically maintained as well as driving lanes during bad weather, so it is important to pass with care.
Ice on the roads may not always be visible, and the smallest patch can pose a big problem. If your vehicle begins to skid, resist the temptation to hit the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the gas pedal and steer into the direction of the skid. A skid can result in a complete loss of vehicle control, which could lead to an injury-causing crash. Skids are not always preventable, so it is as important as ever to always wear your safety belt
In Conclusion • The two most important things to remember when driving in adverse weather conditions are: • 1. SLOW DOWN • 2. INCREASE FOLLOWING DISTANCE