Overcoming the Fears of Driver Trainees

Posted on January 1, 2002

What is the most difficult hurdle to overcome in behind-the-wheel training of new bus drivers? New drivers who are accustomed to driving small vehicles are intimidated by how big a school bus appears from the driver’s seat. Their field of vision has to be adjusted from the small mirrors and windows of a passenger car to a broader view with the full-length mirrors and the larger windows of a school bus. They have to be taught how to judge distances and how to corner using only their mirrors. I find it easier to start out in a large vacant lot with cones spread far apart until the driver trainee become more comfortable in their judgment. As they progress, the cones are moved more closely together until they are able to back and corner without touching them. Then they are ready to go out on a public road, when traffic is light, and try out their skills. By taking it slowly, new drivers become more confident in their abilities. Rick Iannelli Transportation Supervisor Arlington (Mass.) Public Schools Converting from “tunnel vision” to “scanning” has to be one of the greatest problems I have encountered. Many people focus on where they are going and are not aware of what is going on around them. Training drivers to become bus drivers means they need to understand the professional driver’s obligation is to prevent accidents, not to drive with blinders on. Daniel E. Hobbs Head Bus Driver Beekmantown Central Schools Plattsburgh, N.Y.

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