Ensuring School Bus Safety in Cold Weather: 3 Ways to Keep Kids Safe

Winter is starting to set in across the country, and that means we all need to take extra precautions with certain activities that become more dangerous in cold weather.

Roughly 76,000 people are injured in snow-related car accidents every year in the USA alone, showing how important it is to be as careful as possible when driving in inclement conditions. After all, not everyone knows what to do after a car accident or a bus collision.

Hire Trained Drivers

Driving a bus in snow or other poor conditions is very different from driving it in normal weather. A school bus, for example, takes 12 times as long to stop in the snow as it does on a normal day.

School bus drivers obviously require special licenses to begin with, but if you’re in a snowy area, you should also conduct your own training to make sure each driver understands the unique dangers of driving in this weather. This will better prepare them for potentially risky situations they may encounter.

Transporting children to and from school and other activities requires coordination between bus drivers and school administrators. INTERESTING FACT: More than 70% of the US population lives in an area that experiences significant snowfall every year. So we thought we’d update our UK readers about how things get done Stateside!

Below are some simple ways to mitigate the risk of injury during these months.

Your training should emphasise safety tips such as:

  • Allowing more distance between the bus and the car in front
  • Taking care to steer, accelerate and brake more gradually
  • Lowering speed on roads with less traction

Think Ahead

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a school administrator is simply putting off this process or assuming you can handle it when it comes up. The truth is that this approach often leads to adjustments happening too late, so you should have procedures in place well in advance of the beginning of the season.

A comprehensive school district plan includes a number of strategies for maximising the safety of everyone involved. Some common protocols include:

  • Defined alternate routes and/or adjusted pickup times in case of inclement weather
  • A reliable method of communication to notify parents and teachers in case an event is cancelled or a bus is unable to follow its normal route
  • Established procedures to cancel or postpone the beginning of the school day

Equip Buses for Emergency Conditions

There are a number of supplies that become useful and sometimes necessary in harsh weather or unexpected conditions. Buses should be inspected for any technical issues and made ready for winter before the season begins. Start by checking for these potential problems:

  • Low batteries
  • Worn-down tires and windshield wipers
  • Burnt-out lights

You should also keep the following items on hand:

  • Oil absorbent or kitty litter to provide traction in an emergency situation
  • Ice scrapers
  • Rain repellent

Driving any vehicle can be dangerous during the winter, and this is especially true considering the size and number of passengers on a typical school bus.

Belle Vue Coaches takes road safety extremely seriously. Like with air travel, all our drivers complete a pre-flight style checklist. With a dedicated set of in-house mechanics continuously fine-tuning and maintaining our fleet, all our vehicles are kept in their best possible, optimum conditions.

Following these important safety precautions will keep our drivers and students safe throughout the season.