School Buses Keep Running in Cold Temperatures - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

School Buses Keep Running in Cold Temperatures

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Since schools were closed yesterday, many of the school buses hadn't been started in several days. With about half of the district's buses sitting outside, how do they keep the buses up and running in the extreme cold?

It's a little after 7 a.m., and for bus driver Ray Stanley, it's time to start his route to Erik Ramstad Middle School. 

"It seems whenever there's cold weather, that's when something is going to go wrong," says Stanley.

Local schools have about 30-40 buses within the district. While the majority have to sit outside during the inclement weather, for Stanley, he's lucky.  Roughly 15 of the buses get to park in the garage. 

"They have to be under power to really warm up good," says Stanley. "Just sitting here idling like this doesn't warm up very well."

One of the major concerns for bus drivers is clearing the windshield free of snow and ice. But, thanks to the heated mirrors on both sides of the bus, drivers don't have to worry about reduced visibility even if the back windows are covered.

Stanley says, "See, we got heaters on the outside in a compartment. You can set them to come on like an hour or two before you are scheduled to leave. So, it actually warms them up pretty good."

And, it's not just the batteries and heaters drivers have to worry about during the winter months. 

"We get around pretty good because we've got so much weight in the bus," says Stanley. "Traction is pretty good, but the ice is bad sometimes. You have to come up to stop lights and stop signs, and you have to be a lot more careful than you do on a normal road or you will slip right through it."

As Stanley wraps up his morning route, he's glad he doesn't have to plug in this bus, but knows he needs to be prepared for anything winter can throw at Minot Public Schools.

All MPS bus drivers are required to take a defensive driving course in the fall with other Ward County drivers to ensure they are prepared to handle winter weather.  

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