Tales From The School Bus – From The Driver’s Seat

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From this series we will be writing some short articles about life from the driver of the school bus.

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Backing Up / Reversing Advice

I am sure most of the bus drivers who transport school children or any passenger will know how to effectively back a school bus. Having an proper technique is an easy task once you have had a few attempts.

It can be a daunting task given some vehicles are very large and especially knowing that there are children on board.

I am sure you have been asked the question many a time, “How do you manage to turn that vehicle around that big”!

So here are a few helpful tips when backing up a bus for both bus drivers and also for parents/motorists who manage to encounter a bus that is backing-up.

For Bus Drivers

Get a trusted friend to stand at the front and back bumper

Body up against the bumper of the bus while you are sitting in the driver’s seat. (Do this when the bus is off and secured). Have the friend move to strategic points along the length of your bus as well as standing at all 4 corners. Viewing the bus from the driver’s seat allows you to understand the dimensions of your bus from looking in the mirrors. You can get a feel for how large your bus is and where your turning radius is.

Tail Swing

When backing up make sure you are aware of your tail swing and also where your rear wheels are at all times. You can control the front and rear of the bus by remembering where the position of the wheels are. When the rear wheels have cleared a corner you can then cut the steering wheel hard to the direction you need. This will then maneuver the bus effectively.


Make sure you practice, and practice some more. There are many different types and models of busses and each of them have different turning radiuses. Some you will need to swing wider to get the angle to back and others are as simple as pulling in and backing out a car.

For Parents & Other Road Users

Following A Bus

When following a bus, you should leave enough space at the rear of the bus. Incase the bus has to stop quickly and perform a maneuver the bus need to have enough room all around the vehicle for safety.


When a bus is parking into a space, make sure that you wait wand watch where the bus is going before you blindly follow the bus, The driver may be executing a backup procedure and will need the space to turn around and maneuver.


When you are travelling along side of the bus make sure you are aware of the drivers actions. We will signal when we are about to make a turn and if the bus is signalling make sure your vehicle is not in the way of the vehicles tail.

Some may need more room than you think and if you’re travelling in a blind spot then you will not be seen.

Backing Up

If you are behind a bus that is backing up towards your vehicle then you should try to get out of the way instead of using your horn. If using your horn gets the drivers attention then good, but you will need to be trying to move your vehicle out of the way too. Sometimes the driver may not be able to hear you honking and remaining in your position will potentially cause an accident.