Winter is here, so let’s be safe out there

Published: January 23, 2015

a.hughes_org

Hughes

By Alvy Hughes, 
Alternate Vice President – 

Although winter hasn’t arrived yet, many states have already seen winter conditions and record snowfall. It’s that time of the year that U.S. roads and highways can be hazardous for transportation.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions that receive more than five inches of average snowfall annually. Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these snowy regions.

These conditions can be especially difficult for bus operators, as many people depend on us to get them to their destinations safely and on time.

We need to be extra cautious and prepared this season. Here are a few preventive measures you should practice to keep you and your passengers safe.

  • Facility lots and walk areas may be in horrible condition due to weather. Watch for slick spots – especially ice – when approaching your bus. Always take the safest path.
  • Make sure to do proper pre-trips. Checking tires, defroster, wiper blades, mirrors, lights and heating system are especially important in winter. If you discover any issues during your pre-trip, please write it up and report it to the proper company personnel. If your issues aren’t addressed, please contact your local union legislative representative.
  • Many companies have a “no idling” policy to save on fuel, but it’s very important that you take some time to warm-up your vehicle.
  • Be aware of the conditions around you at all times and remember that the posted speed limits are for normal road conditions.
  • Enhanced driving skills, alertness and reaction time are needed in wintry conditions. (Bridges freeze first, and many exit ramps can be challenging due to the fact they may receive less attention than main roads.)
  • Watch out for pedestrians.
  • Always buckle your seat belt.

Our main goal is to be safe. All operators should have buses that are equipped with the necessities to handle the winter weather. Make sure that you put yourself and your passengers in the safest position at all times.