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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series
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Total time for this module: 4 hours 25 minutes plus activity time (5-10 minutes per scenario)

Module Overview

The school bus driver must drive in all kinds of weather. Therefore the school bus driver must be able to respond to adverse weather conditions, whether expected or unexpected. This module will focus on weather conditions that present a driving challenge. It does not deal with other adverse conditions that a driver may face: traffic, construction, difficult routing.

Main Topics

Topic Estimated Time
Introduction 15 minutes
Good Things to Know 45 minutes
Overview of Slippery Roads 20 minutes
Slippery Roads - Mud 10 minutes
Slippery Roads - Rain 20 minutes
Slippery Roads - Ice 20 minutes
Slippery Roads - Snow 15 minutes
Limited Visibility 35 minutes
Vehicle Control Problems 15 minutes
Extreme Temperatures 30 minutes
Catastrophic Weather Conditions 40 minutes
Activity 5-10 minutes per scenario

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  1. List what particular kinds of weather cause each of the following conditions:
    • Slippery roads
    • Limited visibility
    • Vehicle control problems
    • Extreme temperatures
    • Catastrophic conditions
  2. State when to anticipate each particular kind of weather.
  3. Describe what to do in each particular kind of weather, if the weather can't be avoided.

Materials Needed

Overhead projector and screen
Overhead transparency slides
VCR and television if you choose to show any videos

Handouts: Agenda
Weather Terms Handout #1
Slippery Roads Overview Handout #2
Slippery Roads - Mud Handout #3
Slippery Roads - Rain Handout #4
Slippery Roads - Ice Handout #5
Slippery Roads - Snow Handout #6
Limited Visibility Handout #7
Vehicle Control Problems Handout #8
Extreme Temperatures Handout #9
Catastrophic Weather Conditions Handout #10
Local policies and procedures

Format and Length

This module in its entirety is about 4 hours 25 minutes in length, not including the activity. However, the content lends itself to using the module in sections.

  • The Introduction and Good Things to Know sections should be offered together and take about 1 hour.

  • Each of the sub-topics could be offered separately:

    • Slippery Roads, includes five sub-sections (1 hour 25 minutes, although all the conditions may not apply to a given school district)

    • Limited Visibility (35 minutes)

    • Vehicle Control Problems (15 minutes)

    • Extreme Temperatures (30 minutes)

    • Catastrophic Conditions (40 minutes)

  • Overhead slides are provided to assist in presenting the information in the first two modules, Introduction and Good Things to Know. For the remaining modules, there is an introductory slide but, for the most part, handouts have been provided that cover the information presented. The handouts allow participants to have a handout for future reference.

Teaching Tips

  1. This module assumes that, where possible, an adverse weather situation has been avoided. Thus the module deals with what to do IF THE SITUATION CAN'T BE AVOIDED. You may need to remind participants of this focus.

  2. You will notice that two points are repeated throughout the module.

    1. “Slow Down.”

    2. “Increase Your Following Distance.”

    You may want to emphasize these points by making posters or banners that you can hang in the classroom during the instruction.

  3. The following format is used to present each weather situation:

    1. What causes the condition and what you should know about the condition (e.g., what are the different kinds of snowy conditions, when is fog more apt to appear, when does heat or cold become dangerous?)

    2. What you should do BEFORE YOU DRIVE.

    3. What you should do ON YOUR ROUTE.

    You may want to point out this format as you begin the instruction.

    If all members of your audience are experienced drivers, the BEFORE YOU DRIVE sections will become repetitive and can be omitted.

  4. There is a handout for every adverse weather condition. The handout will serve as a ready reference/job aid for school bus drivers when they are back on the job. There is a place on each handout for participants to write in your school district's local policy and procedures.

    There are two ways to use the handouts. Choose which option will work best for you. Both are valid instructional approaches. (NOTE: The lesson plan directions use the first option.)

    1. Distribute the handout as you begin to cover the material. The lesson plan prompts you when to do this.

        PRO: Participants can follow along as you are talking and may absorb more of what you are saying.

        CON: Participants may read ahead and may not listen to you.

    2. Distribute the handout after you have completed reviewing the material.

        PRO: Participants will listen more closely to you.

        CON: Participants may get lost and won't have anything to help them find their place.

        NOTE: If you choose Option #2, be sure to tell participants that you will be distributing a hand out with the most critical information so they know they don't have to take notes.

  5. The activity has 10 scenarios. Each will take about 5-10 minutes. There are several ways to use the scenarios.

    1. Several of the scenarios could be used together as a section offering and review.

    2. One scenario could be used alone as a review of what was just covered or to “test” participants on the material presented previously.

    3. A scenario could be used as a mechanism for covering the information in the sub-topic (e.g., present the scenario and review what the driver needs to know about the condition as well as what the driver should do faced with the condition).

  6. Customize the lesson plan to your area.

    1. Use local examples. It makes the information more real and applicable.

    2. Where it is appropriate, add information about your own policies and procedures.

    3. Make up scenarios that your drivers may have experienced.

    4. Ask a local TV station to put several clips of a variety of local adverse weather conditions on a videotape (no more than 5 minutes). This is a good way to start the second section, Good Things to Know.

    5. Create a panel of your own school bus drivers who have driven in weather conditions that your drivers don't usually experience. Ask them to speak briefly about what it was like and what they did.

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