Bus Drivers in the Snow

Written By Veronica Dergachev

As the winter goes on, storms come and go and each time more snow continues to accumulate on the ground. These conditions often cause accidents happen, but rarely does anyone seem to hear about bus drivers getting into accidents.

This is because, according to Brenda Bass, the safety supervisor at the Seymour bus company, buses are the “safest vehicles out there”. Knowing this information explains why there are not many reports regarding school bus crashes or accidents. However, just because crashes are not heard of often, does not mean that they do not happen.

When accidents do occur, they are usually very minor. Some accidents do not even necessarily happen while children are on the buses. For example, a bus driver may be driving in the middle of a sudden storm on route 69, as the roads become slippery they slide down a big hill.Luckily, sometimes there may be a gutter which can stop the bus from continuing, and result in no damage. Not all accidents that occur are large, and people are not always injured.

Many of the buses in Region 16 have a longer commute because they have to travel to both Prospect and Beacon Falls. While the drive may be longer, bus drivers agree that there is no difference when driving through the two towns. At times, the weather can be more extreme in Prospect because it is at a higher elevation than Beacon Falls is. This does not usually influence the bus drivers of the district because they are confident in their driving.

When it comes to the decision of whether Region 16 has a delay, early dismissal, or even no school, the school bus drivers are not involved. Bus drivers have no choice whether they want to come into work on a snowy day. Luckily, they do not have to worry about making this decision. If roads are too dangerous, the Region 16 superintendent, Tim James, would have already called a delay or cancelled school.

While conditions are thoroughly analyzed and accidents rarely occur, they are still possible. In the case of an accident, the bus drivers would call dispatch, and the safety supervisor would arrive at the accident scene. If the accident is serious, which is uncommon, the safety team and police attend the accident and do an investigation. Depending on where other buses are, they may assist in taking children on the bus involved in the accident home.

According to the National Health and Exercise Science Association, NHESA, there are many ways to stay safe when on the roads and many precautions to take. One precaution can be how a bus driver chooses to dress. Layers need to be worn, because in the case that a bus driver wears a bulky coat, it can restrict movement while driving. Hats should also be worn that cover the ears, because it allows the driver to concentrate better. Gloves with leather or suede palms allow the driver to grip the wheel better; wool gloves are slippery when wet and can cause the driver to let go of the wheel. Finally, insulated socks should be worn during the winter because not doing so can affect foot movement for the gas and brake pedals.

Though there are not many accidents on the news regarding buses, they do still occur. The most important thing to remember when driving in conditions that could cause an accident, is to SLOW DOWN! Many drivers are confident in their driving, but it is always important that all drivers on the road are being cautious as driving a school bus in these conditions can be extra tricky.