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On the Road

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4.3.1 – Passenger Supervision

Many charter and intercity carriers have passenger comfort and safety rules. Mention rules about smoking, drinking, or use of radio and tape players at the start of the trip. Explaining the rules at the start will help to avoid trouble later on.

While driving, scan the interior of your bus as well as the road ahead, to the sides, and to the rear. You may have to remind riders about rules, or to keep arms and heads inside the bus.

4.3.2 – At Stops

Riders can stumble when getting on or off, and when the bus starts or stops. Caution riders to watch their step when leaving the bus. Wait for them to sit down or brace themselves before starting. Starting and stopping should be as smooth as possible to avoid rider injury.

Occasionally, you may have a drunk or disruptive rider. You must ensure this rider’s safety as well as that of others. Don’t discharge such riders where it would be unsafe for them. It may be safer at the next scheduled stop or a well-lighted area where there are other people. Many carriers have guidelines for handling disruptive riders.

4.3.3 – Common Accidents

The Most Common Bus Accidents. Bus accidents often happen at intersections. Use caution, even if a signal or stop sign controls other traffic. School and mass transit buses sometimes scrape off mirrors or hit passing vehicles when pulling out from a bus stop. Remember the clearance your bus needs, and watch for poles and tree limbs at stops. Know the size of the gap your bus needs to accelerate and merge with traffic. Wait for the gap to open before leaving the stop. Never assume other drivers will brake to give you room when you signal or start to pull out.

4.3.4 – Speed on Curves

Crashes on curves that kill people and destroy buses result from excessive speed, often when rain or snow has made the road slippery. Every banked curve has a safe “design speed.” In good weather, the posted speed is safe for cars but it may be too high for many buses. With good traction, the bus may roll over; with poor traction, it might slide off the curve. Reduce speed for curves! If your bus leans toward the outside on a banked curve, you are driving too fast.

4.3.5 – Railroad-highway Crossings Stops

Stop at RR Crossings:

  • Stop your bus between 15 and 50 feet before railroad crossings.
  • Listen and look in both directions for trains. You should open your forward door if it improves your ability to see or hear an approaching train.
  • Before crossing after a train has passed, make sure there isn’t another train coming in the other direction on other tracks.
  • If your bus has a manual transmission, never change gears while crossing the tracks.
  • You do not have to stop, but must slow down and carefully check for other vehicles:
    • At streetcar crossings.
    • Where a policeman or flagman is directing traffic.
    • If a traffic signal is green.
    • At crossings marked as “exempt” or “abandoned.”

4.3.6 – Drawbridges

Stop at Drawbridges. Stop at drawbridges that do not have a signal light or traffic control attendant. Stop at least 50 feet before the draw of the bridge. Look to make sure the draw is completely closed before crossing. You do not need to stop, but must slow down and make sure it’s safe, when:

  • There is a traffic light showing green.
  • The bridge has an attendant or traffic officer who controls traffic whenever the bridge opens.