As a Bus Driver, I’ve had a lot of nerve-wracking moments, but none compare to this one. This happened when I was a fairly new bus driver.
I was driving one of the older spare buses on a route and had just finished picking up all the students from the schools. I had a packed bus. Often we have the younger ones sit 3 to a seat, and the older ones sit 2 to a seat. I was heading out towards the route and brought the bus up to about 45 mph. I approached a local intersection and noticed that the stoplight had turned yellow.
I swiftly and firmly applied the brakes attempting to slow and stop the bus packed full of children in order to prevent an accident. I felt the bus slow when the brakes suddenly released and the brake pedal pushed all the way to the floor. The bus had only slowed from 45 to 35. At this point the light had turned red and I saw that there was no way to stop the bus from proceeding through the light.
I pressed on the horn and prayed! We barreled through the red light at 35 mph with my foot on the useless brake praying that either the bus would stop or that we wouldn’t get hurt. Luckily no one was hurt!
I radioed into the bus shop for another bus as the brakes didn’t seem reliable on the bus I was on, and got told to “carefully finish” the route. I was able to keep an eye on my speed and slow the bus appropriately for each stop afterwards, but it was truly scary!
Nine more days!!
The Bus Driver