Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Scariest Moment

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


ChiTown Girl said...

OMG!! That's terrifying! Thank God none of you were hurt!

Pissedoffteacher said...

amazin how little they cared about the safety of you and your charges

not another arrogant American said...

My first reaction (before using the horn) would have been to pump the brakes. I have had to use the emergency brake once - fortunately I was already 'slowed' to enter a drive.

The Bus Driver said...

I was already too close to the intersection to even bother pumping the brakes. We have air brakes on the bus, and that is what I did after that when I needed to slow for every stop. Unfortunately since we were so close to the intersection, my only option was to honk the horn and pray.

Now when I drive the older buses, I take great care in stopping.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Awesome job!

Maybe my kids were on the bus. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Nice to know there are some conscientious people driving our children to & fro. In our community many parents drive their own children to school. As a working parent, I've relied on public school buses to get my kids to their schools since the carpool line is crazy long and slow. So you go, girl! Keep up the good work!

Mister Teacher said...

Wow, that is horrifying. And the depot people just said, "Yeah, carefully finish the route. Oh, and try to kill as FEW kids as possible. That'd be great."

Heather said...

Man I can't believe you had to finish the route with that bus.

1 1/2 days left here!!!

Kelly said...

Hello from a fellow bus driver!

Curious, did you lose air pressure or what?

I'm having a hard time understanding what type of failure it could have been other than air pressure and then your spring brake should have kicked in to stop you.

I'm glad eveyone was alright.

Just remember this one thing. It is legally your responsibility to make sure those kids are safe. Don't let any school district and/or bus company pressure you into driving a vehicle that you feel is unsafe. If you do, and a kid gets hurt, it will be your butt in a sling. Trust me on this as I speak from experience!

Have a great summer