Driving children back and forth to school could be a very rewarding career, but many do not anticipate all the skills required to be able to safely get these children back and forth on a school bus. Training to be a school bus driver involves more than learning to navigate a huge vehicle on small roads, this is a career that involves being able to think fast with a cool head in split seconds.
These are 4 reasons school bus drivers should be properly trained;
1. Navigating Through Difficult Areas – Having a spotless driving record in a vehicle doesn’t always mean that a person is a great candidate for driving a school bus. For one thing, the school bus is extremely long, so making turns and backing up requires an entirely new skill-set most drivers need to be taught. Being able to parallel park a car is a breeze compared to doing a K-turn with a school bus down a dead-end road. Driving a school bus might seem easy on a long stretch of highway, it is those smaller turns down single lane roads and navigating a bus full of screaming kids at night where trouble starts. Potential school bus drivers should be required to take a more challenging driving test than getting a regualr motor vehicle license because more lives are in the driver’s hands.
2. Dealing With Angry Parents – Training to drive a school bus on a busy highway is one thing, being able to keep your composure when angry parents are climbing on the bus and yelling about something you did concerning their children is another. Perhaps a parent was furious you missed their child’s stop, they are going to be in the bus drivers face the next chance they get. Maybe a child was let off the bus at the wrong stop by mistake, and the angry parent has some words next time you show up. Parents are protective of their children, and if the bus driver did something by accident or on purpose that the parents has issue with, the bus driver needs to be able to calm the situation before it escalates.
3. Professional Courtesy with Children – Even the best drivers who have no issues navigating a huge bus through the smallest roads in the city may not be aware how challenging it can be to focus with fifty screaming kids on the bus. The most patient bus drivers can tell you that there are days that some children are going to be out of control and others they are like church mice. When the bus driver is driving in inclement weather, just got reprimanded by a parent, and now has a bus full of screaming kids, it takes skills to be able to focus on the task at hand and not let outside circumstances affect your driving. Training to handle stressful situations should be a standard in an industry where so many children’s lives are at stake.
4. Anticipating Problematic Drivers – With all this being said, we have not yet addressed the issue of bad drivers. There are some drivers who grow impatient at being behind a school bus and pass any chance they can regardless if the red lights are flashing. Then you have distracted drivers who blow by you in the other lane while kids are getting on and off the school bus. It doesn’t matter how great a bus driver, if the other drivers are reckless, the children are certainly at risk. The school bus driver needs to be trained on how to identify situations where distracted drivers or road rage could impact the safety of the kids. Spotting an angry driver behind the bus and letting them pass while the kids are on the bus helps to alleviate a potentially dangerous situation quickly.
Training school bus drivers to be able to handle all the aspects of working with children and adults requires a set of skills that can be taught. By properly training these drivers today, it will reduce instances on the roads where injuries could result. Driving a school bus takes driving skills, people skills, and the ability to anticipate trouble and take action swiftly.