What To Study For The School Bus Test
Truth be told, for you to become a school bus driver, you have to go through a long and rigorous process. In the end, you will be in charge of a bus that is full of children, and the law expects nothing less than the competency of the highest degree. If it must be said, passing the school bus endorsement (S) is not about luck, but how you study and practice until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s dig a little deeper. What are the sections you should cover?
Danger Zones and Mirror Observations
This is not just the regular CDL test, but you have to be extra-vigilant when you’re dealing with children. That means you have to watch out for possible danger zones or blind spots where children are likely to get hit by other vehicles, or even your bus. For instance, the space to the left or right of the school bus is considered a danger zone since it can block children’s view when crossing the road. The danger zone further extends 10 feet at the back of the bus and 30 feet in front of the school bus.
All the mirrors in your vehicle should be properly adjusted making it possible for you to see the danger zones. Through the mirrors, you should be able to see both the left and right front tires on the ground, the area in front of the bus where you can’t see with direct vision and the danger zones behind the rear bumper.
Loading and Unloading
Did you know, most students are killed when crossing the road after alighting from a school bus? Apparently, the fatality is higher than students who perish while inside the bus. That’s why there is a lot of emphasis during the training for school bus drivers to watch out for kids. Since you will have a better angle at the driver’s seat, you’re required to signal to the students when it is safe to cross.
But before you load or unload the students, you should turn on the amber lights and signal, check your mirrors, release the stop arm, open the door and wait for the students to walk at least 10 feet away from the bus. That is usually done to keep off children from the danger zone and prevent any accidents.
Emergency Exit and Evacuation
The school bus test will cover your knowledge of emergency exit and evacuation procedures. Lucky for you, it’s easier said than done and the examiner will just want you to explain what is expected. The last thing any school bus driver wants is a real emergency situation. Anyway, you’re obliged to issue an evacuation in case of a fire, imminent collision danger, hazardous materials spills, vehicle break down near a railroad crossing, or any other scenario that poses a threat that can be averted if students promptly leave the bus. Most of it is common sense but there are instances when staying on the bus would be safer than evacuating. For example, if there is severe weather like a hail storm outside or anything that would make it worse to evacuate.
As per the norm, any school bus endorsement test will include a section about railroad crossing. What should you do? First, you should gradually slow down and test your brakes when approaching a railroad crossing. Next, you should activate your hazard lights at least 200 feet away from the crossing. As you get closer, you should scan the surroundings and stop at least 15 to 50 feet away from the rail even if there is no train in sight. Switch off any noisy equipment, open the door and windows and listen for any subtle signs of an oncoming train. Finally, if the coast is clear, you can proceed to cross the railroad.
A few things to remember: When you’re crossing a railroad, maintain low gear but don’t change gears until you’re on the other side.
Backing up a school bus is discouraged when there are students outside. If you must back up, you should post a lookout sign or walk outside to the rear to confirm if there is any obstacle. In addition to that, you should set the vehicle in “neutral” and switch to the parking brake whenever you’re loading or unloading passengers.
Except for the mentioned sections, anything else that you would encounter on a school bus endorsement test is what you would go through on a basic CDL test. Obviously, you will go through the pre-inspection test and the backup test where your parking skills are evaluated.
So it all adds up to this: The rules for a school bus test are slightly different, but on the bright side, it’s easy to pass if you study and practice extensively.