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Author Topic: Driving the bus  (Read 4214 times)
JackConrad
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2007, 02:51:07 PM »

Jeremy,
   When you need more than your lanes (such as when making a right hand turn), try to make eye contact with the drivers affected by your wide turn. I have found they are more receptive to moving a little to give you room. This also helps when trying to pull out onto a busy street, if you make eye contact with an approaching driver, they seem more willing to let you in.  This is a tip I learned from my stepfather who drove semis back when there were no CB radios, AC, or any of the other conveniences that we take for granted.  Jack
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2007, 03:27:54 PM »

Jeremy if you can afford it get professional help. I drove tractor trailers pulling doubles for years and to me driving a bus is very similar, it is heavy equipment.
One mistake out on the road, and it is all over! Some people on this board may not agree, but for those of us who have driven big rigs...we understand.  I quit driving big rigs in 2003, and then last August I bought my bus, and even I was nervous driving it home. So please, get some professional help. You need experience out on the road, not just in a parking lot.
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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2007, 03:35:14 PM »

Jeremy,
Each and every one of the above poster's has given excellant advise! I can not add anything of wisdom to it as I think they've covered it all! I especially want to repeat NCBob's mention that if a turn looks too tight (or you are uncomfortable with it for any reason!) pass it by and go a few blocks out of the way and circle back to where you wanted to be by a different route! Or go past it find a suitable place to turn around and come back at it from the either direction and make a left turn (they are alomost never as tight as a right turn!)
I've been driving for a living for over 25 yrs (from tow trks, dump trks, semi trks, and now buses & still tow trks) and I still pass up and come back to a suitable turn regularly!
And as Dreamscape & the others point out keep safety first!
OH yeah definetly keep in mind about the U-turn! I just tried it yesterday in my 45' Setra ( I was empty) which has a very tight turning radious, and still had to back up and straighten out once! And when I finished a cop who showed up outta now where pulled up next to me an said "I don't believe you just did that! ! ! By the way nice job!" Opps, ! I know sometimes I shouldn't tell on myself for pulling dumb stunts, but if it helps just 1 of ya'll from making a mistake by learning from mine it's worth it!  FWIW BK  Grin

PS. Ahem, this was posted as I was typing mine! All I can say is AMEN!
Jeremy if you can afford it get professional help. I drove tractor trailers pulling doubles for years and to me driving a bus is very similar, it is heavy equipment.
One mistake out on the road, and it is all over! Some people on this board may not agree, but for those of us who have driven big rigs...we understand.  I quit driving big rigs in 2003, and then last August I bought my bus, and even I was nervous driving it home. So please, get some professional help. You need experience out on the road, not just in a parking lot.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2007, 03:37:59 PM by Busted Knuckle » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2007, 10:53:19 PM »

Jeremy -

As a retired bus driver trainer, I'd like to share some thoughts with you:

~~ You must keep in mind that when driving a bus, you're controlling where the rear axle goes.  That's the pivot point, and whatever you do with the front end determines where the back end is going to end up.

~~ Always remember you're sitting three feet in front of the steering axle.

~~ When making a RH turn, DO NOT swing the front of the bus to the left first, before turning right.  Excellent way to cause a collision.

~~ When making a RH turn, set your coach up parallel to the curb 18 - 36" away.  Any closer and you'll jump the curb.  Any further out, and somebody will try to sneak by you (commonly called "right hand squeeze").

~~ When making a RH turn, after setting your coach up as stated above, pull straight into the intersection until your front axle passes the curbline of the street you're turning onto.  Only then do you start the actual turning process.

~~ At this point, you must watch BOTH the RH mirror and the traffic on the street you're turning onto.  You watch the RH mirror to see where the rear axle is, and you watch the traffic to see if you'll clear.

~~ If, at any point thru the turn, you see that you're not going to make it - STOP!  Striking a fixed object is always the fault of the moving vehicle.  If you stop because you cannot make the turn, and somebody runs into you, you've got the argument on your side that you stopped because it wasn't safe to continue.  Let the four-wheelers figure out how to get around you, then continue.

~~ When behind the wheel, DON'T look just at the car in front of you.  This is a very, very common habit that's hard to break with new bus drivers.  Get your eyes up - watch 10 - 15 seconds down the road ahead of you.  Watching that far ahead will increase your reaction time, and your peripheral vision will help with the stuff close by.

~~ Learn to use your mirrors correctly.  They should be adjusted so that as you look into them, you should only see about 1/2" of the side of your bus on the edge of the glass - the rest should be the roadway behind you.  I've seen drivers who have set their mirrors such that over half the glass was viewing the side of their coach, creating HUGE blind spots.  Set them right.

~~ If you have a transit agency in town, take a ride.  Sit in the back, watch how the bus pivots around the rear axle.  Find a spot where several buses come thru on a regular basis, and watch them make RH turns.  Seeing is believing.

Others have  offered good advice, too.  Gather it all together and go for a drive!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2007, 03:47:35 AM »

Jeremy:

All the information provided is certainly good.  Like others, I'll add my $0.02.

>> If you can find a CDL manual, better yet ... school bus drivers manual ... take the time to read it.  The air-brakes portion, pre-trip, etc. are worth the read.
>> Like others have said, if you are concerned about a turn or direction you might be taking ... pass it by and try another route. 
>> Don't fixate on the vehicle in front of you ... keep eyes moving around, checking mirrors, other lanes, adjoining roads, etc. 
>> Don't follow too closely -- no closer than 4 seconds from car in front of you.  Time distance between you and car in front of you by picking point and counting, 1/1000, 2/1000, 3/1000, 4/1000.  You should have not passed reference point before that last count.
>> Take your time.
>> Don't pump your brakes like you would possibly do in a car, as you could bleed off air unnecessarily.

Good luck,
Jerry H.
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larryc
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2007, 04:12:10 AM »

One of the things I remember hearing when I had my 4106 about safe driving was watching for "stale" green lights.
In other words, in city traffic, if you did not see the next traffic light turn green, it is "stale" and you don't know when its time might be to change. Always treat a "stale" green light as one that might change before you think it will and catch you unawares.

Larry
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LarryC

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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2007, 04:52:16 PM »

Quote
One of the things I remember hearing when I had my 4106 about safe driving was watching for "stale" green lights.

Hey Larry, I learned that one the hard way.  Good thing the other driver actually saw ME coming.  Taught me a valuable lesson, though.

I would just like to add, HUG THAT CENTER LINE!  If you ever get off the pavement, you may not get back on again.
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Dallas
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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2007, 06:50:44 PM »

One thing I would like to add here....
Learn to drive with your mirrors.

I use to be a driver/trainer for a trucking company and I constantly had to remind new drivers to watch their mirrors and center the vehicle withthem.
The tendency for a new driver is to hug either the center line, and that means having the mirror hanging over it, or hug the shoulder..... even when there isn't one. That causes lots of damage to the sides and roadside signage.

I've noticed this tendency among RV drivers also.

when you are learning how your vehicle operates, you have to remember, you aren't in a 5 foot wide car anymore. The bus is 8 or 8 1/2 feet wide and you must learn to treat it as such. If you try to hug one side or the other you'll end up doing a lot of damage to yourself, your equipment, others, or state property.

Learn to center that sucker and KEEP IT BETWEEN THE LINES!

Dallas

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justin25taylor
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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2007, 04:38:39 PM »

I sent you a PM with my cell number. I live in Taylor and have driven entertainer coaches for years. Call me and I will donate the required time to get you going safely in the right direction. BTW everyone is giving you great advise
Justin
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