Back to rail safety reminders for school bus drivers

The summer is winding down and the back to school commercials are airing regularly (sigh) — so now’s the perfect time for school bus drivers to refresh their rail safety knowledge before climbing back in the driver’s seat this September. While Operation Lifesaver recognizes that regulations for bus drivers vary by province in Canada, no matter where you are, we’ve got you covered with free downloadable resources for school bus drivers. These make it easy to navigate the rail safety rules and regulations of the road, which apply across the nation. It’s simple: stay alert at highway-railway crossings  [caption id="" align="alignright" width="340"] Photo credit:[/caption] To get you up to speed and help you shake off those summer vacation cobwebs, take a look at these general rail safety tips that apply to all school bus drivers:
  • When approaching a crossing, slow down by shifting to a lower gear (manual transmission) and test your brakes.
  • Look beyond the tracks to see if there is traffic congestion, a signal or STOP sign. Is there enough space to allow the bus to completely clear the crossing when stopped? Are you absolutely sure?
  • Turn off the audio equipment and fans and silence the passengers.
  • Open the driver’s window, look and listen for an approaching train.
Looking for more? Don't forget these extra helpful rail safety tips School bus drivers who are required by provincial law to stop at all highway-railway crossings, make a note of these handy tips:
  • Activate the four-way hazard lights approximately 60 metres before the crossing.
  • Place the transmission in neutral and press down on the service brake or set the parking brakes.
  • If your laws and policies permit, open the service door and driver’s window. Look and listen for an approaching train.
  • At a multiple-track crossing, stop ONLY before the first set of tracks. When you are sure no train is approaching on any track, proceed across all of the tracks until you have completely cleared them.
If you’re ever in a jam and need a quick reference guide, print off the Operation Lifesaver Tips for School Bus Drivers handout. It’s perfect to tuck away in your visor so that it’s easily accessible when needed. Remember to be rail safe this school year when you’re rumbling down the road and behind the wheel of your “yellow limousine.” You’re responsible for some precious cargo—ensure you do your part to get those kids to and from school safely by knowing your rail safety. ALWAYS: Look, Listen, Live!