For this driver, the day started with what was called a circle check. It was all part of the regulations, rules and routines that make up of any school bus route. Normally, he disliked rules, regulations and routines with a hatred that bordered on the maniacal, but he had long ago, early in his driving career, realized that these daily tasks, however nit-picky some may seem, were all that kept his cargo, and himself, as far out of harm’s way as possible.
Every morning, in rain or snow or heat or cold, the procedure had to be followed: check the vehicle from front to back, top to bottom. Just as air plane pilots have to go over their pre-flight check lists, so do school bus drivers. Usually, the first thing this driver did was open the hood of his bus and check closely anything and everything he could see, touch or reach. Belts, hoses, clamps, connections and blades all had to be examined. Fluid levels had to be checked. He had looked underneath the engine to make sure nothing had dripped or leaked since his last exam, 24 hours previously.
Yes, it was boring. Yes, it was “routines and regulations“, but it had to be done. That’s why, as he surged on through the dark toward his first stop of the morning, he knew his machine was working as well as it should. The dash board gauges were in proper working order. The fuel tank was nearly full. All lights, switches, fans, heaters, horns and brakes were doing what they were supposed to be doing. ( see video)
Nothing had been left to chance, but no system was perfect. A hose could blow, a belt break, a headlight go out or the breaking system could fail. Nothing is 100 percent fool-proof, and there was always a chance something could go wrong. Always.