Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
Home > Bus Handbook > School bus licence classes B and E > The daily road check (while driving the vehicle)
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IV. School bus licence classes B and E
The daily road check (while driving the vehicle)

Drivers are required to examine and observe the condition of the vehicle during the day or trip. Plan a road check to evaluate your vehicle’s steering, suspension, clutch, transmis­sion, driveline and other components to determine whether the engine performs properly, and whether the brakes have enough stopping power.

You can do a road check on the way to pick up the first passengers of the day.

Check the suspension
Broken springs, ruptured air bags and faulty shock absorbers may cause sag, bouncing, bottoming and excessive sway when under way.

Engine check
Be alert for any unusual engine noises, vibrations or lack of normal responses.

Check the steering
Free play or lash in the steering system is the distance the steering wheel moves before the tires begin turning. Check with the engine on and the wheels straight ahead; turn the steering wheel in both directions with your fingers until you can feel the resistance of the tires. If the steering wheel rotates too far, there is excessive free play or lash in the steering system.

Power steering should be quiet, and the vehicle should steer easily in turns or when going over bumps. Look for unusual ride or handling.

Check transmission and clutch
A manual transmission should allow for smooth, easy gear changes. The clutch should engage easily and smoothly without jerking, slipping excessively or chattering. Never “ride” the clutch pedal. A properly adjusted clutch pedal should have some free play when the pedal is fully released. While changing gears, carefully control the speed of the engine to shift without jerking or excessive clutch slippage. Erratic or careless gear shifting wears out the clutch.

Check tires and wheels
Another important component of vehicle safety are tires and wheels. You must check the tires and wheels of your vehicle as part of the pre-trip inspection to ensure that they meet safety standards. For example, you must check your tires for appropriate tread depth and your wheels to make sure they are securely attached.

It is also a good safety practice to inspect the wheels, wheel fasteners and tires after having new tires or wheels installed. Wheel manufacturers recommend having fasteners rechecked between 80 km and 160 km after installation.

Wheels and tires must be installed by a certified tire installer or a mechanic.

Test parking brake
To check this brake, put the vehicle in gear while the parking brake is on. The brake should be able to hold the bus stationary with the transmission in gear and the engine at idle speed.

Check the brakes
Test at low speeds, bringing the vehicle to a complete stop. The vehicle should stop in a straight line. There should be no pulling to one side or excessive noise. Note any extra pedal pressure or sponginess. Ensure at all times that brakes are not out of adjustment. Do not operate the vehicle until such conditions have been repaired.

Note: Driving with the parking brake on is the most frequent cause of parking brake failure.

Stay alert to the condition of your vehicle
Drivers should quickly sense the “thump-thumping” of a flat tire, or one that is underinflated. Keep the right air pressure in the tires to prevent premature tire wear, failure and breakdown. The air pressure in your spare tire should be the same as the pressure in the tire on the vehicle carrying the highest pressure. Again, recognize unusual noises or handling. A vehicle should not be driven with any of these defects.

A police officer or appointed ministry officer has the authority to perform a safety inspection at any time and any location.