CINCINNATI (January 3, 2012) – The new year is a perfect time for drivers to remember the importance of safety on our nation's roadways, especially as winter weather impacts roads across the country. At First Student, North America's largest provider of student transportation, school bus drivers are trained and prepared for the travel challenges that accompany the harsh winter months.
Every year, First Student's more than 50,000 bus drivers complete advanced training on adverse weather driving including snow, ice, rain and fog so they are prepared for the challenges of every climate. “Each of our drivers is trained specifically to handle slippery roads to help ensure students are safe throughout the more challenging driving months,” said Gary Catapano, senior vice president of Safety, First Student.
The safety of children on the school bus depends not only on the bus driver, but others on the road as well. First Student offers the following winter safety tips to motorists and parents:
- Give Yourself Extra Time to Travel when Weather is Bad. Drivers who give themselves extra time to get to their destination help ensure a safe and appropriate speed for road conditions, and an adequate following distance.
- Follow the Law when Sharing the Road with School Buses. In all 50 states, it is illegal to pass a school bus that has its stop arm out and red flashing lights on. Yellow flashing lights signal that the driver is preparing to stop. Red flashing lights indicate passengers are getting on or off. Motorists should use caution and maintain a safe following distance.
Properly Maintain Your Car.Make sure wiper blades, tires, battery and defroster are in good working condition before inclement weather hits. Keep the vehicle's gas tank full and check window washer fluid levels.
- Leave Home Early to Get to the Bus Stop.When roads and walkways are slippery, rushing to catch the bus or driving faster to make it to your destination can have disastrous results. Children need extra time to get to the bus stop in cold, windy or snowy conditions. Encouraging them to leave a few minutes early and take their time can reduce the number of falls on slick pavement.
- Bundle Up Your Student, but Make Sure They Are Still Aware. Students need to keep warm at the bus stop, but they must also still be able to see and hear what's going on around them. When bundling up your child in the morning, make sure he or she still has an adequate line of sight and can hear traffic and other noises.
- Pay Attention to Weather Alerts and School Messages. As hectic as mornings can be, parents should be aware of weather alerts and school cancellations or delays. Bad weather can also lead to early dismissals or a change in bus routes. Make sure your school has your contact information for late-breaking alerts or be sure to check your school Web site when inclement weather is expected.