Defensive driving techniques are required training for school bus drivers. These techniques are designed to save lives, time, and money for bus fleets. As a transportation director or school administrator, it is your job to ensure your drivers are always ready for what lies ahead. Drivers must know how to identify, avoid, and respond to hazards, all while their school bus is in operation.
Do your training materials offer comprehensive guidance on defensive driving?
To comply with state and federal training recommendations, bus safety personnel need to implement a training course that identifies key issues and takes a comprehensive approach to defensive driving.
The Smith System, long used for defensive driving training in the transportation industry, is an easy-to-understand, easy-to-use technique. We’ll cover the five major points to this system below.
Aim high in steering
This concept encourages drivers to increase their awareness of where they are on the
Get the big picture
Just like the concept of aiming high while steering, getting the big picture means visually understanding the traffic scene down the road, and for the entire width of the roadway. Drivers should watch for hazards such as pedestrians, visual blocks such as hills and curves, and issues with inclement weather. When their visual field is blocked for any reason, it is essential for drivers to widen their following distance, slow the bus, and increase concentration until full view can be restored.
Keep your eyes moving
It is essential that all of your bus drivers are educated to constantly scan the road, intersections, and traffic on all sides of the vehicle. Be sure that your drivers are always scanning traffic lanes every two seconds, and using their mirrors properly. Continued scanning of their environment supports situational awareness in all kinds of
Leave yourself an out
With enough following
Make sure they see you
Despite the color and length of a school bus, drivers in other vehicles are not always aware that a school bus may be pulling away from the curb, pulling over to the side of the road to let the motorist
Some other components that a defensive driving training course might include:
- Blow-outs: How to properly handle a sudden tire emergency
- Winter driving: Tips and best practices for snowy and icy driving condition
- Mirror usage: Proper use and adjustment of mirrors for maximum visual field can make a big difference in defensive driving
- Students with special needs: Understanding the practices and protocols for transporting children with special needs is essential
- Night driving: How to drive safely in dusk and darkness, including the use of lights and signaling, as well as to take caution with fatigue
Defensive driving saves lives. Whether your employees are veteran bus operators, or newly licensed drivers, you should offer appropriate training before and during each school year.