Winter is coming

…so now is the time to be prepared for
driving your minibus in heavy rain.

Heavy rain can be one of the most dangerous conditions that you can drive in. Poor visibility and slippery surfaces can make driving difficult, and with the added challenges of driving a school minibus, it’s very important to know how to maintain the safety of your passengers.

As well as this, the adverse weather conditions can damage the inner workings of your minibus. Breakdown rates increase at this time of year, which is both annoying and expensive.

Many breakdowns are caused by driving through deep water, and as well as frustrating for staff and students, unless the driver can prove that the damage wasn’t done because of their actions, the insurance company may not pay out, which can result in a large bill.

If the damage is too severe, and whole components have to be replaced, then the time it takes to fix your minibus increases hugely.

Here is a short list of handy tips that you can do to make driving in heavy rain easier and safer.

  • Use dipped, rather than full beam headlights, and don’t use rear fog lights. This will increase your visibility to other drivers.
  • Check all lights are working effectively (particularly brake lights) before every journey, it is the drivers responsibility to do so.
  • Check condition of windscreen wiper blades and renew every 2 years.
  • Check that windscreen washer bottle is full and contains correct amount of all-weather additive.
  • Check anti-freeze levels are mantained correctly.
  • Check tyres have sufficient tread to suit conditions and are set at correct pressure as per manufacturers handbook.
  • Slow down. This sounds obvious, but you have more time to react to things the slower you are going. When visibility is poor, this becomes of paramount importance. As well as this, driving too quickly through deep water can cause massive engine failure.
  • If you do break down in torrential rain, keep the bonnet closed, so as not to do any further damage to the minibus.
  • Don’t drive through water if you can’t see how deep it is, and if you must, then keep to the highest part of the road.
  • After driving through water, test your brakes by slowly applying them, then accelerating, then applying them again. This dries the brakes, returning them to the peak level of effectiveness.