Back to school bus rail safety basics

With kids heading back to school in just a few weeks, it’s a good time for regular and substitute school bus drivers to take a rail safety refresher and kickstart the school year off right.

So where to begin before climbing back into the ‘big cheese’ driver’s seat?    

If you’re ever in doubt approaching a highway-railway crossing, just remember: If it won’t fit, don’t commit.”

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="260"]Photo Credit: Deseret News Photo credit: Deseret News[/caption]

   How does this apply to you?

  • Know the length of your bus and the amount of space available on the far side of the highway-railway crossings on the bus route
  • When crossing the tracks, make sure the school bus has enough room to clear the tracks on either side.
  • Remember that the train will be a metre wider on either side of the tracks.
  • Never stop on the tracks!

It’s always good to have some “back pocket safe practice reminders.” Print these off and put them on your school bus visor to review while waiting for the bell to ring and the kids to load the bus. 

  • Stop no closer than five metres and no farther than 15 metres from the nearest rail (wherever you have the best view of the tracks).
  • Turn off radio and fans.
  • Open door.
  • Check for clearance of right-of-way.
  • Always cross tracks with your bus in a gear that will not require you to change gears, as it is illegal to shift gears while crossing the railway tracks.

Rail safety starts with you. How you operate the school bus around highway-railway crossings will increase students’ awareness about rail safety, and teaching rail safety is a lifesaving lesson that will never end.

Have great and safe school year.