WHAT THE SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ICE
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
HOW THE SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHOULD RESPOND TO ICE
- Before you drive
- Check the weather report.
- Call or talk to parents or spotters, other drivers, and Dispatch. Listen to the bus radio.
- Check the roads yourself.
- On your route if you suspect icing conditions
- Slow down gradually.
- Avoid aggressive braking or steering.
- Turn on headlights, strobe lights, 4-way flashers.
- Stop, get out, and check the road surface yourself if you can't evaluate the surface based on other drivers' or pedestrians' reaction outside the school bus.
- Double your following distance.
- Give others a lane.
- Practice defensive driving.
- 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.
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