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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series
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V. Slippery Conditions - Rain

  1. The second slippery condition we are going to talk about is rain
  2. When we are talking about rain we are talking about everything from a few sprinkles to a heavy downpour
  3. When should you anticipate problems if it is raining?
    • In the first few minutes after it starts raining
    • In a heavy downpour
    • When the temperature is dropping
  4. The first 10 minutes after light rain begins are the most dangerous
    1. The rain mixes with oil from motor vehicles and oil from new asphalt
    2. The result is a slippery roadway
    3. If it rains hard and long enough, the rain washes off the oil and the slippery conditions are reduced
  5. If it rains heavily, there can be moving water on the road way
    1. This creates a situation where hydroplaning is possible
    2. Hydroplaning can happen at speeds as low as 30 mph if there is a lot of water
    3. When your school bus hydroplanes, the tires lose contact with the road and have little or no traction
    4. You may not be able to steer or to brake
    5. In severe rain a school bus driver should reduce his or her speed by half
      1. A school bus will seldom hydroplane because of its weight
      2. One reason it will hydroplane is if it is going too fast
    6. Particularly watch right after a heavy rain
      1. Your instinct is to speed up again
      2. However, there could still be water on the road and you could hydroplane
  6. How the school bus driver should respond to rain
    1. Before you drive
      1. Check the weather report
      2. Check your tires
        1. Keep tire pressure at the recommended level
          1. Another reason a school bus might hydroplane is low tire pressure
        2. If tires are worn, report it to your supervisor so the tires can be replaced
      3. Check that your windshield wipers are working properly
        1. If not, replace them
      4. Check that you have plenty of washer fluid
      5. Check that window defrosters are working properly
    2. On your route
      1. Check your brakes
        1. Make sure that they are working properly
          1. Remember that, when water gets into drum brakes, it reduces their efficiency
          2. Brake linings could become wet resulting in

            • Less braking
            • Uneven braking
            • Grabbing brakes
            • Reduced braking control
        2. You may have to “ride” the brakes slightly for a short distance to dry them out and to restore normal braking
      2. Slow down
        1. Wet roads can double your stopping distance so reduce your speed by half
        2. You must drive slower to be able to stop in the same distance as on a dry road
      3. Slow down gradually
      4. Avoid aggressive braking or steering
      5. Turn on your headlights, strobe lights, 4-way flashers
      6. Double your following distance
      7. Practice defensive driving
      8. Give other vehicles a lane
      9. Be especially careful driving through puddles
      10. When pulling onto a road, allow extra space for oncoming traffic
        1. You need to compensate for the possibility that your wheels might spin on the wet pavement as you accelerate
      11. Watch the oncoming traffic for spraying water
        1. Traffic can splash water from puddles across the median and on the wind-shields of cars in your lane
    3. What to do if you find yourself hydroplaning
      1. Don't use the brakes to slow down
      2. First, release the accelerator
        1. This allows the wheels to turn freely
        2. Your vehicle will start to slow down
          1. Newer buses with an automatic transmission won't slow down as quickly as buses with standard transmissions when you take your foot off the accelerator
      3. Second
        1. Automatic transmission
          1. Downshift one gear
        2. Standard transmission
          1. If the drive wheels start to skid, shift to neutral or depress the clutch to let the wheels turn freely
  7. Review local policy and procedures
  8. Are there any questions about driving in the rain?

V.B - Display Slide #11

V.F - Distribute Handout #4, Slippery Roads - Rain


V. Remind participants that their first preference should always be to avoid an adverse weather situation. This module deals with what to do if you haven't been able to avoid it. You will discuss those situations where the school bus driver has to decide what to do.

V.A. Tell participants that all the information covered in this section will be on a handout which you will distribute shortly.

V.D. The roads could be slippery for as long as 30 minutes, depending on how hard it is raining.

V.F. Distribute Handout #4, Slippery Roads - Rain. Review it with the participants.

V.F.1.b. The grooves in the tire carry the water away. If they aren't deep, they do not work well.

V.F.2.h. To “give others a lane” is a defensive driving term. It means to make sure that the other driver also has a way out if something starts to go wrong.

V.F.3. Emphasize that each school bus driver should know his or her school bus and how it responds on wet roads.

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