By Ely Schosek
Springville High School runs a Driver Education program three times a year open to all students once they receive their driver’s permit. Spots are limited to 16 participants for each session due to scheduling and space in the cars.
Students in this year’s fall session are currently about half-way through it, and advisor Mrs. Shearer said they have been lucky enough to have made it this far without any cancellations from weather or other factors.
The program is divided between time in a classroom and time driving. While in the classroom, Shearer tries to avoid lecturing for an hour-and-a-half three days a week. Last week, during one of their classes, the students visited the bus garage and got a chance to speak with Transportation Supervisor Ann Rugg.
They were given time to ask Rugg questions on a variety of topics. Then each student got a chance to sit in the driver’s seat of the bus and see what the bus driver’s see — a unique opportunity that few students have.
Meanwhile, each student was able to drive by the bus and then stop at the reds. This gave them a chance to see the proper distance and experience it all first hand.
“It was a good experience because a person can ask any questions they have to a bus driver about safety and get a good answer with visual examples on the bus,” said Adam Moody.
When asked what she took away from it Grace Turner noted the following: “I learned the correct ways to conduct a vehicle around a school bus.” Zach Hughey said he learned “the rules of busses and what to do and what not to do when you encounter them on the road.’’
Victoria Ehrig mentioned that it was interesting to learn “what it’s like for a bus driver” and to see “their view in the seat.” She was also able to learn some things she didn’t know about the job of being a bus driver.
Dan Komenda mentioned that one of the major takeaways was that you must stop a minimum of 20 feet in front of or behind a school bus with their reds.
A few students, including myself, were surprised to see how many buttons the bus driver has to deal with. It was also surprising to see how many mirrors they have to keep track of. Most of us just get on and off the bus and don’t really pay attention to these things.
One of the major lessons here was that drivers have “tons of different stuff and the mirrors can see everything so students can be really distracting,” Nate Pellette said.
“I learned that they have to go through a lot of training and follow up training as well,” Miya Domes said in reference to bus drivers. Shay Ellis also found the amount of training bus drivers undergo noteworthy and added that the whole experience made her appreciate bus drivers more.
Miya said it was a good experience as it helped her to understand “what bus drivers go through from safely driving the school bus along with having to make sure the children aren’t misbehaving.”
“I’d say it was a good experience because we were learning valuable information and we were able to practice approaching a bus with its reds on to know where to stop and what to do,” Grace said. “To keep everyone safe, it is extremely important to know what to do around a bus and sadly not everyone knows what to do.”
Nate and Adam both agreed that it was a good learning experience to see around the bus from the driver’s perspective and to see where 20 feet if from the driver’s seat. On the other hand, Dan and Zach mentioned that most of it was just a review for them, but it was nice to see the road from the driver’s perspective.
Even only being halfway through the course, students in Driver’s Ed. have learned much about safety in cars and around busses. As a few of the students said, it’s important to know where to stop for a bus and how to conduct a vehicle around a bus for your own safety and that of students and their drivers.