Just like any other vehicle, buses are susceptible to mechanical issues and road hazards that may unexpectedly derail their commute. Even if everything checks out during your pre-inspection and you follow safe driving practices perfectly, breakdowns will likely be an inevitable part of your bus driving career.
If you’re driving the bus, it’s your responsibility to be prepared in the event that a breakdown does occur. If you’re managing a fleet, it’s your responsibility to ensure your team is ready in case of mechanical failure. Follow these steps to ensure you and your passengers remain safe and your bus can get back on the road as quickly as possible!
Get the bus to safety.
Your first course of action as soon as your bus starts to malfunction should be to pull over to avoid an accident. Slowly make your way to the side of the road (remember—most of your passengers probably aren’t wearing seatbelts), getting as close to the edge as possible. Ideally, you’ll land on a flat, paved surface, but at the very least you should look for a spot you know you’ll be able to pull out of.
As frustrated or alarmed as you may feel, keep in mind that your passengers will be looking to you for guidance on the situation. Don’t incite fear or chaos by acting panicked or angry. You need to maintain control of the situation and a cool head to properly evaluate your circumstances and determine the appropriate next steps.
Communicate with your passengers.
Once you’ve taken your bus safely off the road, your first concern should be the safety of your passengers. Ask if everybody is okay and be prepared to address any medical emergencies by calling 911 promptly. If nobody’s hurt, your next step is to let passengers know what’s going on. Keep them informed throughout the process and instruct them on where to go and what to do next.
Inspect your bus.
After you’ve addressed your passengers, see if you can identify the problem. If it’s something you know you can safely and easily repair, follow the necessary procedure to get yourself back on the road. If you’ll have to wait for help, look for any hazards that make it unsafe to be in or near the bus—fire, smoking, leaking—so you can get your passengers to safety.
If you can’t fix the bus, make your environment as safe as possible.
If you’ll have to wait for backup, ensure your bus is highly visible to oncoming traffic and help when it arrives. Use road flares, cones, reflectors, and put your hazards on. Once you’ve done this, you should survey your surroundings and identify any buildings in proximity that might prove helpful during your wait, such as a service station, restroom, restaurant, etc.
Notify the proper channels and wait for help.
Once you’re certain of the safety of your passengers and surroundings, you should inform your office or motor pool of the situation as soon as possible. The sooner you alert for help, the faster the response will be. Identify your location and surroundings clearly and ask for another bus to be dispatched for passengers, if the issue seems complicated. Stay with your vehicle until help arrives.
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Every one of our new and used buses is inspected with high standards for both safety and condition. You can trust our knowledgeable team of experts to help you find the optimal vehicle to meet your needs for the best value.
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