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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series
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IX. Vehicle Control Problems

  1. The third set of conditions is vehicle control problems
  2. What we are talking about here is how to handle a school bus in windy situations
  3. Strong winds affect the handling of the school bus
    1. They make it hard to steer the school bus
    2. They make it hard to keep the school bus on the road or within a travel lane on the road
  4. The side of a school bus acts like a sail on a sailboat
    1. Strong winds can push the school bus sideways
    2. They can even move the school bus off the road and, in extreme conditions, tip it over
  5. In addition to the winds themselves, remember that strong winds can also blow around debris that can hit the school bus
    1. That debris could even break windows in the school bus
  6. Gusts are often worse than sustained winds
    1. They can take you unawares
    2. You can't predict their strength
  7. What constitutes windy conditions that make handling difficult will vary based
    1. On the size of the bus
    2. On the geographic area (open plains, between hills)
    3. On the number of usable lanes
    4. On the number of other vehicles using the road
  8. When can you expect strong winds?
    • In rainstorms
    • In dust storms
    • In blizzards
    • When a cold front approaches
  9. 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
  10. There are some places to be especially wary of if the wind is high
    1. Crossing bridges and overpasses
    2. Crossing between hills
    3. The open straightaway when there are gusting winds
  11. How the school bus driver should respond to strong winds
    1. Before you drive
      1. Check the weather report
        1. Look to see how tightly packed the isobars are
      2. If strong winds are predicted and you know about trouble spots along the route, choose an alternative route if one is available
      3. Call or talk to
        1. Parents or spotters
        2. Other drivers
        3. Dispatch
      4. Listen to the bus radio
    2. On your route if you are caught in strong winds
      1. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel
        1. Anticipate gusts
      2. Do what you feel comfortable doing
        1. Either slow down to lessen the effect of wind on the school bus
        2. Or pull off the road and wait
          1. Remember not to stop on the traveled roadway
          2. Pull onto a solid shoulder, side road, or parking lot
      3. Contact dispatch
        1. To get more information on what to expect
        2. To tell them where you are
        3. To ask what you should do
      4. Watch for blowing debris or falling trees or power lines
  12. Review local policy and procedures
  13. Are there any questions about driving in windy conditions?

IX.B - Display Slide #15

IX.K - Distribute Handout #8, Vehicle Control Problems


IX. 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.

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

IX.K. Distribute Handout #8, Vehicle Control Problems. Review it with the participants.

IX.K.1.a.1 Isobars are lines on a weather report that connect places that have the same atmospheric pressure. Winds tend to blow almost parallel to the isobars. When isobars are close together (or tightly packed), it is an indication of strong winds.

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