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June 01, 2006  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Useful Techniques to Optimize Mirror Training

Mirror grid systems are designed to assist in the instruction of proper mirror usage. Choosing the right system can enhance the learning experience and increase a driver's visual capacity, especially around the danger zone.

by Albert Neal, Associate Editor

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Maximizing visibility
Rob Worthington, area director of safety, education and development at Durham School Services in east Los Angeles, tries to create a sound foundation in the original training. He follows that up with evaluations and observations of drivers.

“You have to conduct an overall education so drivers know they can’t keep their heads on the same pivot all the time,” he says. “They have to rock and roll.”

Durham School Services teaches defensive driving and the Smith System, which stresses the need to keep the eyes moving and to constantly scan mirrors.

“Continual training is the key to preventing mirror usage errors,” says Viki Wassink, area supervisor for Granite School District in Salt Lake City. The most common mistake for drivers is improper adjustment of mirrors, she says.

Wassink says spare drivers tend to jump on a new bus every day. They adjust the mirrors on those buses. When a regular route driver jumps back on that bus, there is a tendency to take off without making sure the mirrors are readjusted.

“That’s one of the mistakes our drivers make, that and not checking mirrors frequently enough during turns in traffic,” Wassink says.

Equipment options
Mirror manufacturers offer a variety of mirror systems to choose from, including driver-adjustable mirrors, cross-view styles and interior models.

Driver-adjustable mirrors eliminate the need to have mechanics adjust mirrors. Cross-view mirrors provide a 180-degree view across the front of the bus, its front bumpers and down the sides of the front of the bus. Radius mirrors are shatter resistant and can provide a clearer, wider view of the bus’ interior. Manufacturers also offer mirrors that can be adjusted by remote control.

The latest mirror systems from Rosco Inc. in Jamaica, N.Y., include the Open View mirror, an aerodynamic split-mirror system that hides the mounting arms in a centered channel in the housing.

“The two separate housings satisfy the needs of some customers who want to see in between the mirrors for greater forward visibility,” says Ben Englander, VP of engineering. “The convex mirror is smaller than the flat mirror to also allow greater forward visibility.”

Rosco’s Accustyle rearview mirror incorporates a single-housing dual mirror and is designed to mount on single- or two-point mounting arms or on loop-style mounting arms.

Mirror Lite Co. in Rockwood, Mich., is developing a new cross-view style mirror called the HD, for high definition. This mirror reduces the reflected image of the bus and increases the reflected images in the danger zone.

“Images of kids in the danger zone around the front of the bus appear considerably larger than ever before, even larger than with our Safety Cross cross-view mirror,” says Paul Schuster, communications director at Mirror Lite.

Mirror Lite’s Safety Cross mirror increased mirror image by about 15 percent over its previous model, the Bus Boy. The HD also increases mirror image, but without increasing the mirror head.

The Tiger Mirror Corp. in Toledo, Ohio, is developing a crossover mirror called the Tiger Eye. The Tiger Eye, which is made of tempered glass, has the capability of housing an imbedded camera behind the mirror.

“The mirrors are five years in development,” says Tony Pietrowski, a principal at Tiger Mirror. “They are chromium instead of silvered on the backside second surface, which reduces distortion and cuts down on glare.” Tiger mirrors are guaranteed for the life of the school bus.

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