You’d think it’d be hard to miss the bright yellow uniform of school buses everywhere—and you’d be right. Take it from a school bus contractor: These vehicles are some of the safest on the road, and they’re designed specifically to protect the children inside in case of the rare accident!
Plus, with well-trained drivers at the helm, school bus services become even more of a smart choice. In the state of Minnesota, drivers must undergo extensive record testing, in addition to passing written and road tests and acquiring specific endorsements (permits), before they can work in student transportation services.
Rest assured, so long as you’re hiring group transportation services that care about their drivers, your students are as safe as can be!
However, we at Northstar Bus Lines are here to remind you to drive conscientiously and safely around school buses, both in the icier winter months and otherwise. While our drivers are well cared-for and well-paid, the safety of the children in our community is a top priority, and even if we’ve got our A game on—which we do every day, mind you—we cannot step into the minds of other drivers on the road and make them view school buses with the conscientiousness they deserve.
We also cannot step into the minds of the children whom we care for and endow them with the impulse control they need to make smart around-the-bus decisions. It’s therefore a multiple-person effort to ensure school bus safety, both for students and other drivers alike. We’re more than doing our part. Are you?
How Can I Treat School Bus Services With Respect?
Of course, we’re not here to implore you to mind your driving behavior and then not tell you how to do so! At Northstar Bus Lines, we’re bus-driving professionals. We’ve been in the business for over 50 years, so we know all the ins and outs of the job.
In fact, during paid training, we teach our newbies who are learning how to become a bus driver to look out for drivers who are disrespectful or ignorant. So what can you do to not be that way?
Don’t Tailgate. Please.
Tailgating is fun during football season, but not so great on the roads. If you’ve never worked in school bus services or don’t hold a class B CDL, you might not know that larger vehicles have larger blind spots—meaning, a larger area behind them in which they cannot see.
While school buses compensate for this to some degree with massive mirrors, drivers still need your help to be able to make safe stops. The best way to help make those stops? Keep ample space between yourself and the bus.
Minnesota law at the time of writing this requires that you stop at least twenty feet behind a school bus when it has its sign extended and flashing. Given that road conditions, your car’s abilities, and personal driving habits vary, we’ll let you do the math.
Be Patient! There Are Kids on Board.
We admit, those in school bus services drive cautiously. This is for a good reason! Buses require more skill to maneuver than your traditional commuter car, and they carry quite precious cargo.
We also admit that this kind of cautious driving can be frustrating to the rushed or impatient driver. When all you want is to crash on the couch with your favorite TV show after a long day at work, it can be irritating to get caught behind a massive vehicle that makes frequent stops!
However, as school bus contractors, we implore you to please be patient when you come up behind a school bus. It helps us to drive in the safe fashion we need to to get our community’s children where they need to go. Don’t pass unless you’re a hundred percent sure it’s both legal and safe. It can be hard to see in front of a school bus. And like we said above, please give us some room!
Which brings us to our next point...
Red Flashing Lights? Stop Immediately.
There’s a reason that school bus services use vehicles that are so brightly colored—and so well-equipped with stopping indicators. It’s to ensure kids have space to cross the road and return home!
Kids aren’t always the most predictable, and given that their impulse control capabilities aren’t fully developed, they need a wide berth to make sure they can cross the road and end their school day on a safe note.
It’s all too easy to zone out and fail to notice even a school bus services vehicle’s flashing brake lights, so the best advice we can give for this one is the same advice we give to our drivers during training: Stay mindful of the road in front of you. Try not to drive when you’re tired or otherwise compromised. Group transportation services and the students they serve will thank you.
Contact Northstar Bus Lines for Safety-Minded School Bus Services
Need old hands at school bus services to serve new generations? There’s nothing our experienced drivers can’t handle. Give our Maple Grove terminal a call now at 763-425-2542.