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In-Service Safety Series
ADVERSE CONDITIONS
In-Service Safety Series
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SLIPPERY ROADS OVERVIEW


ROAD CONDITIONS

  1. The type of road surface affects the impact of the weather.
    • Asphalt is more slippery than concrete when it first rains because it contains petroleum.
    • Concrete tends to be less slippery than asphalt in rain and light snow.
    • Ice forms more slowly on a gravel road than on asphalt or concrete.
    • Gravel and dirt roads can change to mud after rain or snow melt.
    • Watch a sandy road after winter; the sand retains and freezes water; when it thaws, the wet sand is difficult to drive in.
    • Dry sand on roads reduces traction and can cause the school bus to slide or skid.
    • If it has been raining, mud from a construction site can be tracked on to an asphalt or concrete road immediately adjacent.
  2. In addition to the road surface, you need to watch the road contours while driving in slippery conditions.
    • A high crown or crest
    • The banking on the road
    • Curves in the road
    • Soft shoulders or road edges
    • Potholes or frost heaves
GRADE
  1. The grade (steepness) of the road makes every slippery situation worse. This is true whether you are coming up a hill or down a hill.
  2. Going up a steep grade in slippery weather
    • Climb the entire grade in the same gear. Having to downshift will cause you to lose traction. Use a low gear.
    • Downshift before you get to the grade.
    • Keep moving at a slow and steady pace. Maintain your momentum.
    • Make sure you have adequate snow tires and/or chains.
  3. Going down a grade in slippery weather
    • Slow down as you approach the grade.
    • Before you start down the grade, gear down.
    • Brake carefully, using the appropriate method for the kind of brakes you have (ABS or non-ABS).
HOW TO HANDLE A SKID
  1. Slick surfaces exaggerate any movement. If you brake too hard or turn too hard or drive too fast, you can go into a skid.
  2. If you start to skid:
    • Ease your foot off the accelerator.
    • Lightly tap the brakes to gradually slow down the school bus.
    • Take your foot off the brake and begin turning in the direction of the skid.
    • If you turn too far, the school bus may skid in the opposite direction.
    • Turn gently the other way, again in the direction of the skid.
AVOID GETTING STUCK OR SPINNING YOUR WHEELS
  • Keep the bus moving slowly and steadily forward in gear.
  • If the wheels start to spin, let up slightly on the accelerator to let the wheels take hold.
  • If the school bus stops moving, don’t continue spinning the wheels. Further spinning will only dig the wheels deeper.
  • Point the wheels straight and “rock” the school bus by alternately putting it in reverse and then in low. This will usually pull the school bus out of the stuck place.
  • If rocking doesn’t work, push some material around the rear wheels to provide friction, such as kitty litter, crushed rock, tree branches, pieces of timber, or burlap. Make sure no one is behind the school bus.
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HANDOUT #2
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