Minibuses have become the go-to vehicle for running a wide range of social events and even for team building exercise trips and a number of educational trips. And face it, everyone has been inside a minibus at least once. They are convenient for carrying large groups and eliminate the hassle of using multiple cars to go to one destination. They are very comfortable and easy to move around with.
However, driving a minibus is not as easy as you may be thinking. Unlike a car, you have to be wary of the actual size of a minibus. It has different steering, braking handling and cornering attributes that you may not be fully familiar with. That being said, do you really know what it takes to drive a minibus and what must one do to actually be able to drive one?
Have A Valid Driving License
If you have a full car driving license you can drive a minibus. It is that simple. By checking the back of your license you can confirm if you are eligible to drive a minibus as standard. This entitlement to drive a minibus remains valid for as long as your license is not expired.
However, if the minibus is not yours and you are a volunteer minibus driver, you are permitted to drive the minibus as long as you meet these conditions; that you are twenty-one years and above, but under seventy years old. That if you are seventy year old you have renewed your license and have passed the PCV medical test where you will undergo a physical examination to check your vitals, sight and hearing. That you have had your full car driving license for the past two years. That you did not receive any payment for driving the minibus. You must ascertain that the minibus is not being used for commercial purposes or for hire or reward. That you are not intending to tow a trailer with the minibus and that the weight of the minibus does not exceed five tones. If you’re an HGV driver, you will need to carry out a CPC test to be able to drive professionally.
Plan Your Routes
If you are driving a minibus to a far destination it is wise that you plan ahead the roads you will use in order to calculate the distance that you will be driving. Many accidents have occurred form tired drivers on the road and it will help you to know how long the journey is and where you can stop to get some rest or switch drivers. Also, you can plan for places where you can get refreshments and food or where you can make an overnight stop. Remember you should not drive if you are tired or sleepy or overworked. If you plan your route you can check for any weather conditions that may affect your travels and reroute if necessary.
Can I Really Drive
If you are not fit to drive, do not drive a minibus. If you are not in good physical health avoid driving or pass the responsibility over to another licensed minibus driver. Being intoxicated is another reason to avoid the wheel even if you just had a little bit to drink. You can easily get drowsy during long journeys on a minibus and being intoxicated makes it even more likely that you will fall asleep at the wheel. If you are on any medication read through the instructions to see whether the drugs cause any side effect that may inhibit you to drive safely.
Your Minibus Is Your Responsibility
If you are driving a minibus, whether you hired it, bought it or you are a volunteer driver it is upon you to ensure that the minibus you are driving is in good working order and is safe to drive. During long trips, you should carry out pre-drive checks every day before you drive the minibus. This can help you avoid an accident due to negligence. You should make sure that the minibus is not overloaded and over the acceptable maximum weight. Make sure no items are sticking out of the minibus and check that is there is any load on the roof that it is evenly distributed and properly fastened.
Control Of Your Passengers
As the driver, you are in control of the passengers. Make sure that passengers only board and alight when the minibus is at a complete halt. Do not exceed the carrying capacity for passengers in the minibus and keep a list of names and any conditions that a passenger may have that may warrant immediate medical attention.
Driving As A Job
Driving a minibus can sometimes be a hassle so renting one out can seem like a smart way to make some extra money. To do this you will need a minibus permit. A permit is granted to one above twenty-one years of age and the minibus can only be used for carrying a group of people to a specific destination and not as a public service vehicle. The passengers must be above nine people up to fifteen but never above fifteen people.
In order to drive a minibus well, feel free to enforce some rules on your passengers. You can put a no smoking and drinking rule to avoid messy and unruly behavior that may distract you on the road. Ensure road safety rules are followed by your passengers such as making sure that all passengers are wearing their seat belts throughout the journey. Follow all fire evacuation procedures in case of a fire and you can go through these procedures with the passengers to keep them ready for any situation. Ensure that all children are accompanied by a designated caretaker and that if they are below age they should have fastened car seats provided for them. This will help you remain calm while driving a minibus since you will know all children are safe.
Leave A Safe Gap
If you are driving a minibus always leave a reasonable distance between the minibus and the driver in front of you. Do not drive back to back to allow for you to respond to any sudden move by the driver in front of you. This will also ensure that if you are having any incidents you are far enough to avoid causing any accidents.