1. Starting your vehicle in winter
Just like us, our buses also need to warm up when the weather is cold. In winters, the engine oil turns to molasse due to the low temperatures. Driving immediately without warming up the engine can cause wear in the engine. In such situations, it is advised to leave the engine idling for the oil to get back to its desired form to circulate fluidly in the engine. The time for which the engine is kept idling ranges from 2-10 minutes. As a driver, care must be taken that you DO NOT leave the engine idling for too much time as there is a chance of the oil diluting with the unburnt fuel which would never get a chance to burn off. This causes premature engine wear and needless burning up of expensive gasoline.
2. Efficiently use your vehicle’s AC in summer
Entering the bus on a hot summer day your first instinct would be turning on the AC at max. STOP IMMEDIATELY! The AC system is built such that it accumulates the toxic gases that are harmful to us. So pump out the hot air naturally, before you get on the bus. This can be done by turning on AC and opening all the windows so that the bus gets fresh air. Also, make sure to keep your air filter clean. If the filter has dirt in it, it would ultimately affect the airflow in the vehicle. To get the best out of the AC system in your bus, when starting the bus keep your temperatures to the lowest and increase the fan speed to max. Make sure to keep the system in recirculating mode. In this way, lesser energy would be spent on further cooling of air. Once your vehicle is sufficiently cooled, you can change the fan speed as per your requirements. In this way, you can use your vehicle’s AC efficiently in summer.
3. Overtaking another vehicle safely
Overtaking or passing is when you come near a vehicle from behind and pass it to the vehicle traveling in the same direction. In the USA, overtaking is legal on all 4 or more lane roads. On two-lane roads, there must be sufficient sight distance and one must pass from the left of the overtaken vehicle unless that vehicle is showing a left signal. Often, you have to pass a car on a two-lane road and another car pops out of nowhere coming towards you. In such instances, you must show the signal and get back to your original lane and try to avoid confusion which would eventually lead to a collision. Considering the risks of overtaking, it is highly advisable to avoid overtaking as much as possible.
4. Be alert with your AC in the winter
In the USA, as the seasons change, the ACs are mostly used in summers only. You must turn on the AC for at least 5 minutes at medium temperatures so that the system doesn’t stale. If you don’t use it the whole winter, you might not be able to use it in summer when you need it the most. The same is true for the heater. The workability of these systems after a long time can be unpredictable. Hence it is advisable to use heaters/AC so that they don’t stagnate overtime.
5. Free your bus from snow, mud, or sand
Getting stuck in mud, snow, or sand is troublesome and frustrating. But luckily, there are ways to get your vehicle unstuck efficiently and safely. When in a sticky situation, you must NOT keep on spinning the wheels. This would only dig the hole deeper. Before calling the tow truck there are some steps that you can follow to get your vehicle unstuck. Firstly, make sure that the exhaust pipe isn’t blocked. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up in the bus. Also, determine the wheels that are spinning or are stuck. Now, you must try to build traction for the affected wheels. For this task, you can add some stones, logs, or carpet mats to the front and the back of the tire. You can also release air from tires. In this way, the surface area of the tire on the ground would increase which would help in gaining traction. If all these steps do not work, you must call a tow truck to get unstuck. But remember, the best way to prevent situations like these is to avoid driving your bus to these types of scenarios altogether.
6. Take care of your battery and starter.
In cold conditions, never start your bus straight away. Doing this would damage the battery and starter of your bus as when you start it, no voltage in the system would put your battery and starter under a lot of pressure. A better alternative to this would be starting the high beams for 5 seconds so that the current would circulate in the circuit and would help the engine start easier.
7. Pay attention to your wipers.
When you observe that your wipers are not working effectively and not covering some of the areas, it is because of the wearing out of the rubber on the wipers. These wipers often wear out in C shape, so before replacing the wipers you can try turning them inside out to attain their original shape. You can clean the windshield when you make a stop at some gas station. This way the life span of the wipers would increase. Remember, never run the wipers on a dry windshield. They are designed to be used on wet surfaces. So, if you have to clean a dry windshield, make sure to turn on washers first.
8. Use the Clutch pedal efficiently
In many cases, after changing the gears, the drivers do not take their feet off the clutch paddle. During the engagement of the clutch, the friction generated between the clutch plate and the flywheel generates a lot of heat and wear. This burnout leads to lower fuel efficiency and slower acceleration. This can be avoided by simply changing some habits of the driver. As a driver, you must not keep your bus in gear at a stoplight. Along with this, care must be taken to not keep your foot on the clutch paddle. These small driving habits will help you in increasing the lifespan of your clutch system.
9. Complacent attitude
As a bus driver, you must pay 100% attention to your job. You cannot be talking on the phone, listening to music on earphones, or have any other distractions while driving. With a vehicle that heavy, you DO NOT want to get in a situation that you can’t get out of. Needless to say, you should never ‘Drink and Drive’. When you are driving a bus/van, many lives are dependent on you. Your one mistake will take away too many lives. To prevent getting in such a situation you must not have a complacent attitude at your job and you must be focused while driving.