The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone are just a few of the amazing sights to see in America. Seeing the beautiful sights our country has to offer by bus can be an exciting and cost-efficient way to explore America. However, traveling across the country on a bus tour can present various safety issues and hazards. Before you sign up for your next bus trip, consider these seven bus tour safety tips as explained by a Florida accident lawyer at Searcy Denney.
Tip #1: Research Bus Tour Routes
Before you depart on your next bus trip, research the routes a bus tour will take and avoid dangerous routes where possible. Learn about areas to avoid traveling to and through. Bus tours that take passengers through dangerous areas and do not properly research routes may cause unnecessary accidents that could have been prevented. For example, when researching a bus tour, consider whether the bus tour company takes into consideration planning for construction. A bus tour that travels through a dangerous construction zone at night when an alternative route is available may cause an accident to occur when proper planning could have avoided the accident.
Tip #2: Be Safe While Waiting, Boarding, and Riding a Bus
While waiting for your bus to arrive for your exciting bus tour adventure, be sure to:
- Wait for your bus safely on the sidewalk or other safe area specifically designated for passengers to wait for the bus.
- Be sure to stand several feet away from the curb while waiting for the bus.
- Avoid crossing immediately in front of or behind the bus to avoid getting run over.
- Wait for the approaching bus to come to a complete stop before boarding the bus.
When boarding the bus, allow exiting passengers to leave the bus before you board and enter through the front door. Use handrails when boarding the bus to avoid tripping and falling.
During your bus trip, be sure to stay seated and don’t stand in the stairwell while the bus is moving. If you must stand while the bus is in motion, be sure to hold onto a handrail. While riding the bus to your destination, keep the following tips in mind:
- Keep yourself away from closing doors
- Avoid distracting the bus driver while the bus is in motion
- Do not extend your head or arms outside of the window
Tip #3: Vet Bus Companies and Drivers
Do not just assume any bus company is safe. Be sure to vet the bus company and bus drivers who will be transporting you on your bus tour. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that you “Look Before You Book.” You can research company safety records online on the FMCSA’s Bus Passengers: Look Before you Book website.
Additionally, look for bus companies that are authorized to operate by the FMCSA and have a U.S. Department of Transportation number. Make sure the company keeps its buses in good repair and regularly inspects and tests safety equipment.
Also, be sure to confirm that the company properly screens its bus drivers – checking driving records and credentials. You may also want to ask about the driver’s experience, whether the driver has driven the route of your trip before, and what the plan is for longer trips (i.e. whether there will be a backup driver to avoid a driver behind the wheel for too long causing exhaustion). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also encourages you to ask the following questions about a company’s bus driver:
- Does the driver have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement (requires additional knowledge and road testing)?
- Does the driver have a valid medical examiner’s certificate on file showing that they are medically qualified to operate a bus?
- How often does the company recheck a driver’s driving record?
- What is the company’s policy on using electronic devices while driving and how does it enforce its policy and laws against texting or using cell phones while driving (which vary from state to state)?
- Does the company have a driver drug-and alcohol-testing program?
Tip #4: Use Seatbelts
While traveling on a bus, be sure to use shoulder/lap seatbelts if available. In the event the bus gets into an accident, seatbelts can help keep you safe.
Tip #5: Take Action If You Spot Danger
If you believe you are in danger while riding on a bus, be sure to take action which may include calling 911. Some examples of dangers that could present themselves while on a bus trip that may require you to take action include, but are not limited to:
- A bus driver who appears to be falling asleep or is otherwise impaired (such as by intoxication)
- The bus appears to be malfunctioning
- Other passengers become dangerous or erratic, causing safety issues
Your action could save your life and the lives of the passengers around you.
Tip #6: Be Familiar with Safety Equipment
The FMCSA recommends that you Learn Before You Board and become familiar with safety equipment before the bus takes off. You can take steps to familiarize yourself with safety equipment by:
- Locating the emergency exits including the window and rooftop hatch exits so you are aware of them in the event of an unexpected accident.
- Identifying the location of fire extinguishers which are often stored in the front of the bus.
Tip #7: Report Bus Safety Issues
If you see a bus safety issue, you should report the issue as soon as possible to the FMCSA. A safety issue could be a mechanical condition of the bus or an issue with the driver (such as falling asleep at the wheel or texting while driving).
Contact a Florida Accident Lawyer Today if You Were Injured While on a Bus Trip
Were you injured in a serious bus trip accident? If so, help is available. Contact a Florida accident lawyer at Searcy Denney today. Our experienced accident attorneys have decades of experience with personal injury cases and are standing by to advocate for you. Contact us to schedule your free consultation with a Florida accident lawyer. We have offices conveniently located in Tampa, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee.