top of page

using your bus mirrors

Eight common & dangerous mirror mistakes

The following is a list of the eight most common and dangerous mirror mistakes that bus drivers make everyday. Some of these mistakes have been the cause of student injuries and fatalities. You can avoid a potential tragedy by knowing how to properly adjust and use your mirrors. The information in the following section will help you accomplish those goals.


Always adjust your mirrors during your pre-trip inspection.


Be sure you see what you need to see.


Make sure you physically check that all mirrors are firmly mounted on bus.


Always make sure your mirrors are clear and free of debris


Do not use your student crossing mirrors as driving mirrors, and do not use your inside rearview mirror for changing lanes or entering/exiting traffic. Never use that mirror as a disciplinary tool


Develop a periodic and systematic process for checking your mirrors on a regular basis


Buses and mirrors themselves cause blind spots. Always “Rock and Roll” in your seat to help see past these blind spots


Stay focused on the driving environment around you, as it can change instantly.


Proper use of your bus mirrors

School bus mirror systems are a critical safety system, but drivers often fail to adjust and use them properly. The following information will help review some things you can do to avoid an accident or injury.

1.        Take the time to clean your mirrors before you begin your day and as needed in order to maintain clear visibility.

2.        When completing your daily pre-trip inspection, be sure to check that the mirrors are securely attached to the bus. If              your mirror has cracks or is distorted in any way, document the defect on your Daily Inspection Report.

3.        Activate the heat in your mirrors when they become fogged or ice and snow covered. This will help to keep the                     mirrors clear.

4.        The most important thing to remember that even properly adjusted mirrors will not be a substitute for good                          judgment. You must always move in your seat or “rock and roll” to see around your mirrors and other blind spots                that are present in any bus.

Rearview mirror use

1.        When driving, you must check the rearview mirrors and the inside rearview mirror every 5-10 seconds on a                            rotational basis or as conditions around your bus permit. It is very important to be aware of what is going on around              your bus when driving, and to spot hazards in time so you can take appropriate action to avoid them. The suggested              rotation is the left rearview mirror, inside rearview mirror and right rearview mirror then straight ahead.

2.        Anytime you change lanes, turn or back the bus you should always use the rearview mirrors to be sure no vehicles,               pedestrians or other objects are in the path of your bus.

3.        Avoid staring or focusing in any mirror especially the inside rearview mirror for long periods of time while driving.

Student crossing mirrors

1.        Develop a systematic check of your mirrors at all bus stops. Always check the mirrors before signaling a student to               cross the street or step off the bus to be sure no vehicles, pedestrians or bicycles are moving along the side of the                   bus.  An example of a systematic check would be the right crossing mirror 1st, left crossing mirror 2nd, left rearview              mirror 3rd, interior rearview mirror 4th and then right rearview mirror 5th.

2.        Student crossing mirrors will diminish the size of an object considerably. Always investigate further before moving               the bus if you suspect an object is present in a mirror.

Always check both the student crossing mirrors and rearview mirrors before moving the bus after loading or discharging students.


Winter Driving Safety Tips .

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Driving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don't go out until the snow plows and sanding tracks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared (TIPS), and that you know how to handle road conditions.

It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving safely on icy roads

1.             Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should

                allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in

                front of you.

2.      Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the


3.             Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

4.             Keep your lights and windshield clean.

5.             Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

6.             Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.

7.             Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads,

                which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions

                are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like


8.             Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility,

                and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.

9.             Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and

                front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If your rear wheels skid...

1.             Take your foot off the accelerator.

2.             Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are

                sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.

3.             If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering

                wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to

                get your vehicle completely under control.

4.             If vou have standard brakes, pump them gently.

5.    If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the               brakes pulse — this is normal.

[f your front wheels skid...

1.              Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer

2.              As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will
                 return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the
                 transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

If you get stuck...

1.              Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.

2.              Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.

3.              Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.

4.              Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.

5.              Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get


6.              Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage tb

                 transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again.

                 Each time you're hi gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets



More Winter driving tips


Winter driving presents a number of challenges to both you and your bus. Cold weather tests the limits of your vehicle's mechanical abilities. Treacherous driving conditions tesl you as a driver. It's imperative that you and your vehicle be ready for the upcoming challenges of winter conditions.

1.   ACCEPT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to do all in your power to drive without

incident. Do not blame the weather for a crash. Be prepared to meet any situation

2.            ADJUST YOUR SPEED TO CONDITIONS. Slow down on wet, snowcovered

or icy roads so you can stop in tune if you have to. Watch for ice patches,

especially in shaded areas, on bridges, and on overpasses. On compact snow

reduce your speed by 1/3. On icy roads, reduce your speed by 1/2.

3.            GET THE "FEEL" OF THE ROAD. If you are away from traffic, try the

brakes occasionally while driving slowly. Find out just how slippery the road is

and adjust your speed to the road and weather conditions. Never make sudden

moves like slamming on the brakes or accelerator.


headlights, windshield wiper blades and defrosters are in top working condition.

(This also means making sure nothing is blocking your heater/defroster vents.)

You have to see danger to avoid it.


AND ICE. They cut stopping distances and give more starting and climbing

traction ability. However, even with the help of chains or studs, slower-than

normal- speeds are a "must" on snow and ice.


Slamming on the brakes can lock the wheels and throw you into a dangerous skid

7.            UNDERSTAND AND USE ABS CORRECTLY. ABS will increase your

stopping distance on icy road conditions. Gently applying the brakes to the point

just before the ABS is activated will reduce your stopping distance. If you feel

ABS come on, press down hard on the pedal, look and steer where you want you

want to go and don't let up on the pedal until you are out of danger.

8.            FOLLOW AT A SAFE DISTANCE. Keep well back of the vehicle ahead of

you in order to give yourself room to stop. Remember, without tire chains, it take;

three to 12 tunes the amount of distance to stop on snow and ice as on dry


9.            CRUISE CONTROL. Do not use cruise control where the roads might be slick.

Cruise control can apply power suddenly or at the wrong time and cause a skid or

make a small skid uncontrollable. If you have the cruise control on and think the

road might be slick, use the hand operated controls to turn it off. Tapping the

brakes can initiate a skid if the roads are slick.

10.    REMEMBER, condensation on the pavement of bridges and over-passes freezes

before the rest of the roadwav.

Driver Safety Tips

Breaking Through

By Kathleen Fumeaux

As a driver, trainer, and ultimately as a director of transportation, the nagging doubt often creeps in about how much of the training a child with a mental disability actually comprehends. You walk away knowing that you did the right thing, but wonder if it will ever truly make a difference in the lives of children. One day I received my answer.

I was a transportation director and received a radio transmission that I had a bus evacuating due to smoke coming from under the dash. This particular bus had six children on it, five of them preschoolers. Among the preschoolers were Karen, an uncommunicative four-year-old, and Matthew, a 14-year-old boy with autism. Karen and Matthew sat in seats across the aisle from each other.

I immediately responded to the scene, directing my office staff to contact the necessary emergency help. When I arrived, the children were all outside the bus, sitting under a tree singing "The Wheels on the Bus" with my driver and attendant. The smoke had been from wires that had begun to burn — a condition ended by shutting down the bus.

Nonetheless, the evacuation had been executed without a glitch thanks to Karen. As the driver and attendant began their rehearsed process, little Karen, who had never spoken a word, stood up, went to Matthew, who was not responding, unbuckled his seat belt, and said to him: "Come on Matthew we have to go!" She took him by the hand and calmly led him to the back of the bus. They, along with the others were helped out and were safe and sound.

This split-second moment unlocked this child, and left indelible marks on all our hearts. It was the really rare sign that the training we do does truly make a difference in the lives of children — and an even bigger difference in our lives.


Rear End Collisions - How to Keep from Being Hit

Know what's going on behind you. Adjust your outside mirror and your inside rearview mirror before moving your vehicle. Then, use them frequently to check traffic that is following. Keep your rear window clean.

Flash your brake lights when you are standing, moving slowly or preparing to stop. Check your brake lights frequently to be sure they are working. Keep the brake lights clean.

Signal well in advance for turns, stops, and lane changes.

Slow down gradually over a long distance to give vehicles following more time and space in which to react. Never try to beat a green light. Always anticipate a changing green light.

Keep pace with traffic when road and weather conditions and speed limits permit.

Get rid of tailgaters. First, try moving to the right and letting them pass. If this doesn't work, encourage them to pass by slowing down and waving them on. Exercise greater than usual caution when slowing down to discourage tailgaters. Use the proper arm signal and slow down gradually as traffic permits. If the tailgater still won't pass or drop back, pull off the road. Don't let him distract you into an accident.

Don't cruise in another driver's blind spot. If he suddenly swerves into your lane, you may have to brake hard and become a sitting duck for a rear ender.

Raise the hood if your vehicle stalls and can't be moved from the traffic lane. Do everything else you can to make your disabled vehicle visible to approaching drivers. A stalled vehicle is particularly dangerous at night. A professional driver usually has a flare or other signal device handy for driving emergencies.


School Bus Safety Is Still... ONE STOP AT A TIME  

Recently, I was teaching a fledgling          *      up ride to school. Order at the bus

school bus driver a bus route. As we       *    stop makes for a more orderly ride,

drove along I was giving her a            *     Let your supervisor know when you

narrative of everything I was seeing, as     *     have an unsafe bus stop that needs his

well as doing. As we approached a bus    *      or her attention. An ounce of

stop, I said, "You'll notice that I don't       *     prevention is worth a pound of cure,

pull up even with the students. I             *      Are you aware of the motorists behind

always stop ten feet before the stop and   *    you as well as any than might be

let the children walk to me." Just as I        *       approaching you? Have you given

said that, a little boy pushed the boy         *       them ample warning with your

that was at the head of the line and           *       yellows that you are getting ready to

caused him to fall forward into the            *       stop? Do you have eye contact with

road. I was rendered speechless, as       *       the approaching motorist? Is he or she

was the driver who was riding with me.    *      on cell phone? Is he or she looking

I then went on to say, "Now you've          *       straight ahead, then- mind on other

seen why we don't pull up even with         *       things? Are you covering the horn

the children at the bus stop. We would      *      with one hand, ready to sound a

have hit that little boy."                              *    warning in case the person looks like

As a professional school bus driver,          *     they are going to run your reds? So

your eyes should be scanning the               *       much to think about, even before you

upcoming school bus stop before you         *      stop!

pick up your students and before you          *     As the children board the bus, are

drop them off in the afternoon. In the           *     you alert to straps or keychains that

morning, you should be thinking; How         *      might be dangling? Do you ask them

many students do I usually get at this           *       to "tuck" these hazards in? Do you

stop? Are they going to be here, or will       *       remind them to tie their shoe laces

one be running late and chase the bus          *       when you see them untied? Are you

as I start to pull away? Are there any           *       watching for items such as knives or

mothers at the stop? If so, are they            *       umbrellas with sharp points that could

watching the children, or are they                 *     cause an injury or damage to the bus?

socializing with the other mothers,                 *    Do you encourage children to hold on

coffee cups in hand? Are there dogs             *    to the handrail? Do you wait until all

running loose at the bus stop that might          *    of your students are seated before

distract the children, causing them not             *   moving the bus? A lunch or a book

to think about the danger zone around             *  left behind on the ground could

the bus? Are their little siblings at the               *   indicate a child forgot something and

bus stop waiting to see their brother or            *   ran home. Could this child be running

sister go off to school on the big bus?               *   back to the bus stop now?

Are the mommies holding tightly on to              *  There is no margin for error when

their hands? Is the mother waiting on                *   you approach a school bus stop. Your

the opposite side of the road? If there               *  students need 100% of your attention,

are no mothers at the bus stop, are the             *   You have to leave your worries and

children unruly, "horsing" around,                     *   problems at home. Think school bus

chasing each other? Horse play carries              *   Safety - One stop at a time,

over on to the bus, creating a charged


bottom of page