Driving a minibus is a huge responsibility. Although they’re generally a safe form of transport, if breakdowns or accidents do happen, the consequences can be severe – particularly if you’re carrying children, disabled or elderly passengers.
As a minibus driver, you should be well trained and prepared for your role. So before every trip, make sure you’ve got your emergency supplies – from a well-stocked first aid kit to insurance for a minibus details.
Read on for our checklist to keep you and your passengers as safe as possible in an emergency situation.
This will be your lifeline in an emergency, providing a means to call for help, contact the organisation you’re working for, and even pinpoint your location via GPS.
Don’t forget to charge it up, and bring a charger and power bank with you, too.
If you break down near an emergency roadside telephone, it’s a good idea to use that instead of your mobile as it tells responders exactly where you are.
By law, you have to carry a fire extinguisher – or two if any of your passengers use a wheelchair.
Make sure they comply with British Standards with a minimum test rating of 8A or 21B, and use water or foam. Check that you know where they are before your journey.
If you’re carrying a passenger in a wheelchair, one of your fire extinguishers should be in the passenger compartment. Make sure it’s accessible – but not too tempting for excited children!
Breaking down on the road is bad enough. But worse could be to come if you don’t take great care of your passengers – and warn other drivers.
Your minibus training will have covered when and how to evacuate your passengers, and you should be well drilled in emergency breakdown procedures. If you’re transporting a vulnerable group, such as children, the organisers may have provided instructions, too. Read our recent blog on school minibus safety check and our top tips for carrying children.
Following these procedures will help you stay calm and act correctly in a dangerous situation, providing reassurance to your passengers and keeping them safe.
If you need to escort them out of the vehicle and onto the safety of the roadside, a high visibility jacket means that you will be seen by other drivers. A webbing cutter will help you cut through tangled seatbelts or wheelchair restraints.
You’ll also need to place a warning triangle or flashing beacon at least 45 metres behind your minibus. Take great care when doing so, and don’t use one on a motorway.
Finally, don’t forget a torch – and check its batteries are working. They’re vital in so many situations, from searching for your equipment to guiding your passengers to safety on a dark country lane.
No matter how well trained you are, an emergency situation is alarming. It’s reassuring to know that you’ve got suitable minibus insurance, which will help cover your costs and get you up and running again once the emergency has passed.
While you wait for emergency responders, you or your passenger assistant may need to carry out some first aid.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) has printed a handy guide to what should be in your first aid kit. It includes antiseptic wipes, bandages, sterile dressings, safety pins, scissors, disposable gloves and a mouth mask for resuscitation.
Make sure you’ve had some first aid training and know how and when to use these items. It’s a good idea to go on regular refresher courses.
If you use any item, record it in an accident book and replace the stock before your next trip. Check your kit periodically to make sure that all items are still in date.
The last thing you want in an emergency situation is a scramble to find essential paperwork. Make sure you’ve got it all sorted before your trip.
You should have to hand the contact details for the organisation you’re working for, so you can tell them what’s happened and get them to contact parents or relatives.
If they’ve provided any further information, such as medical details for your passengers or emergency instructions, make sure these are readily accessible, too.
You should also have policy documents for your minibus insurance and motoring breakdown service.
Finally, don’t forget a good old-fashioned pen and paper. You may need this to scribble down essential information as you make emergency phone calls.
Store everything carefully in an easily accessible place such as your glove compartment.
Accidents do happen – but many can be avoided by careful drivers. Take regular rests, stick to the speed limits, and drive according to road conditions. Of course, don’t even think about driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you do break down or have an accident, or if a passenger experiences a medical emergency, stay calm, think back to your minibus training, and follow the correct procedures.
Owners of minibuses also have a duty of care to passengers. Make sure all vehicles and their supplies are regularly checked, and are in good condition.
Ensure that all drivers are trained, aware of relevant procedures, and are fit and competent to drive.
If emergencies do occur, make sure they’re recorded. Carry out a thorough investigation into what happened, and whether the procedures you had in place were sufficient. Be ready to learn from the event, and pass this learning on to all your drivers.
Finally, make sure that you’ve got the right level of minibus insurance to keep your drivers, passengers and vehicles covered if emergencies occur.
Running a minibus service is an essential job – so it’s crucial to get the right level of cover to protect your drivers, vehicles and passengers.
Taxi Insurer finds insurance for those aged 25 and over driving a wide range of minibuses for 9-16 passengers plus the driver.
Our specialist team will search for the right policy for your needs, whether for occasional private use or frequent trips for schools, charities, churches, scout groups and sporting clubs.
Get a quick quote today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.