WHAT THE SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WIND
- 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
- 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.
- Watch out crossing bridges and overpasses.
- Watch out crossing between hills.
- Watch the open straightaway when there are gusting winds.
HOW THE SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHOULD RESPOND TO WIND
- Before you drive
- Check the weather report. Look to see how tightly packed the isobars are. If strong winds are predicted and you know about trouble spots along the route, choose an alternative route if one is available.
- Call or talk to parents or spotters, other drivers, and Dispatch. Listen to the bus radio.
- 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.
- Remember not to stop on the traveled roadway. Pull onto a solid shoulder, side road, or parking lot.
- Contact Dispatch to get more information on what to expect, to tell them where you are, and to ask what you should do.
- Watch for blowing debris or falling trees or power lines.
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