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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series
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VII. Slippery Roads - Snow

  1. The last slippery condition we are going to talk about is snow
  2. There are different types of snow and there are different kinds of snowy conditions
  3. What types of snow can you think of?
    • Flurries
    • Showers
    • Squalls
    • Normal snowfall
    • Lake effect
    • Heavy
    • Blowing and drifting
    • Blizzard
  4. There are many kinds of snowy conditions that you may encounter
    1. Weather forecasters use many of these terms and you should know what they mean
    2. Snow flurries
      1. Intermittent snowfall that may reduce visibility
    3. Snow showers
      1. Intermittent but heavier than flurries
    4. Snow squalls
      1. Brief, intense snowfall with gusty winds
    5. Normal snowfall
      1. Steady falling of snow
    6. Lake effect snow
      1. Snow that falls downwind of the Great Lakes when a cold wind blows over the warmer water surface
    7. Heavy snow
      1. 4 to 6 inches in 12 hours or 6 inches or more in 24 hours
    8. Blowing and drifting snow
      1. Strong winds and poor visibility for a lengthy period of time
    9. Blizzard
      1. Steady snowfall with blowing snow
      2. Sustained winds of 35 mph or higher
  5. Given that any driving in snow presents a special challenge, when should you anticipate additional problems driving in snow?
    • As the snow deepens
    • When the snow mixes with wind
    • When the snow falls on top of previous snow or ice
    • When traffic picks up
    • When temperatures are near freezing]
  6. How the school bus driver should respond to snow
    1. Before you drive
      1. Check the weather report
      2. Call or talk to
        1. Parents or spotters
        2. Other drivers
        3. Dispatch
      3. Listen to the bus radio
      4. Check the roads yourself
      5. Do a very careful pre-trip inspection
        1. Check that your windshield wipers are working properly
          1. If not, replace them
        2. Check that you have plenty of washer fluid
        3. Check that window defrosters are working properly
    2. On your route
      1. Slow down gradually
      2. Avoid aggressive braking or steering
      3. Turn on headlights, strobe lights, 4-way flashers
      4. Stop, get out, and check the road surface yourself
      5. Increase following distance
      6. Give others a lane
      7. Practice defensive driving
      8. Anticipate limited visibility
        1. Watch snow banks along the side of the road
          1. Remind students to stay off the snow banks when waiting for the school bus
        2. Turns may be more difficult when snow banks limit visibility
      9. Beware of snow drifts
        1. Conventional buses may be able to go through a fairly good sized snow drift
        2. A transit-style Type D bus may not be able to go through drifts
        3. Watch for hazards in the snow drift (solid objects or previously plowed and now frozen snow)
      10. You may need to periodically get out and scrape the windshields and lights and mirrors
  7. Review local policy and procedures
  8. Are there any questions about driving in snow?
  9. Before we leave slippery roads, there is one more slippery condition that we should mention
    1. Watch out for leaves or debris on the road
    2. Moisture from dew or rain or flooding can make leaves or debris very slippery
    3. Pay attention carefully in these situations

VIIA - Display Slide #13

VIIC - Write on flipchart

VIIF - Distribute Handout #6, Slippery Roads - Snow


VII. 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.

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

VII.D.6. The heaviest lake-effect snow episodes usually occur when a bitter cold outbreak dives southeast across the Great Lakes. As cold air flows over the warm water, the bottom layer of air over the surface of the water is heated from below. Moisture also evaporates into the air as it is heated. Since warm air is lighter and less dense than cold air, the heated air rises and begins to cool. As the air cools, the moisture that evaporated into it condenses and forms clouds. When enough moisture condenses out of the air, snow falls over the regions downwind of the Great Lakes. The greater the temperature contrast between the cold air and the warm water, the heavier the snow showers will be. If the temperature contrast is great enough, the rising air will have enough buoyancy to form thundersnow, which are thunderstorms that have snow falling out of them rather than rain.

VII.E. When temperatures are near freezing, falling snow hits the pavement, melts, and then freezes. This creates a layer of ice that is then covered with snow.

VII.F. Distribute Handout #6, Slippery Roads - Snow. Review it with the participants.

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