All Aboard: 7 Tips for First-Time School Bus Drivers

All Aboard: 7 Tips for First-Time School Bus Drivers

driver in school bus

Are you adaptable, friendly, reliable, punctual, and passionate about your work? If this sounds like you, you have some qualities that would make you an excellent school bus driver. Driving school buses can be a fun, rewarding career — but your first day on the job can also be an anxiety-inducing stressfest if you don’t know what you’re walking into! If you’re a new school bus driver, keep these tips in mind to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Stay Calm

The most important thing to remember as a new school bus driver is to stay calm. Panicking isn’t unusual when people are in a stressful situation, but panicking behind the wheel is entirely different. It can endanger everyone’s safety if you freak out, so stay as calm as you can no matter how nervous you are. In addition, being calm helps your passengers remain relaxed. Whether you’re transporting high school seniors or six-year-olds, students notice your mood and disposition more than you think.

Be Punctual

As you might expect, punctuality is a top quality of a great school bus driver. You don’t want anyone to be waiting for their bus for longer than they have to! Strive to always show up on time. In some cases, delays will be out of your control, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. If weather or mechanical issues arise, communicate with other drivers and school administrators ASAP and stay updated about any changes to your schedule or route for the day.

Set Expectations Early

Friendliness is important, but being overly friendly and afraid to correct misbehavior can lead to troublemakers taking advantage of your kindness. From the very beginning, establish the rules of the bus with the students on your route and enforce them as needed to keep the bus orderly. If students know you have a zero-tolerance policy for things like safety violations or bullying, they’ll be less likely to act up, and you’ll have an easier time keeping the peace.

Always Follow the Rules

Even though you might not personally agree with every policy your supervisor or school administration puts into place, it’s your job to follow them as an employee. Upholding the rules and regulations, and making sure students do too, is part of your daily work, so don’t skip out on this important part of being a school bus driver. 

Following the rules of the road is also non-negotiable if you are a school bus driver. School staff and your passengers’ parents alike depend on you to safely get their “precious cargo” to and from school. Running stop signs, speeding, failing to put out your stop sign when loading or unloading passengers, and other reckless behavior can endanger the entire group and earn you fines or criminal charges. Not to mention, a traffic citation can jeopardize your job or cause you to lose it entirely. 

Pay Close Attention

Noticing the small things is critical for school bus drivers. That includes things like being aware of who’s crossing the street at all times, remembering to check the back seats for leftover lunch boxes, spotting who needs a friend, or turning on those flashing lights in the early morning, so students see the bus coming.

Your schedule is something else you should pay close attention to. Paying attention to every detail of your route is expected of you as a school bus driver, so be sure to check your assigned route every day. Even if you drive the same route for days on end, it’s still vital to keep an eye on any changes that are being made. The last thing you want is to skip someone’s bus stop!

Ask for Assistance

Don’t be afraid to ask a supervisor or coworker for help. There are plenty of things that will happen that your training program didn’t cover. No one knows everything right away — in fact, you’ll likely find that you’re still learning new things many years down the line!

Have Fun!

A school bus can be a challenging work environment — but it can also be one full of positivity and fun. Have a good time with it, and your passengers will have a great time too! Whether you’re full-time or part-time, enjoy your job and take pride in what you do.

Drive Your Career With YellowBird Bus Company

Are you ready to get started with your bus driving career? Have questions regarding bus driver training? Just wondering why school buses are yellow? We can help you with all of this and more at YellowBird Bus Company! Get in touch with our team today.


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