Three Ways to Prevent Accidents When Driving a Minibus

Nobody wants to be involved in a traffic accident, especially when you could be transporting up to 16 other people in a minibus.

This article identifies three ways of minimising the chance of an accident and therefore saving you money on your minibus insurance by reducing the need for making claims.

1. Be aware of other road users.

This may seem obvious but surprisingly this advice is often overlooked. Many road users are not as responsible as we would like them to be. For instance some drivers still feel the need to use their mobile telephone even though it is now against the law. If you are following a driver using a mobile phone give them extra space as there is a higher risk their actions may cause an accident.

If a motorist is driving to close to the back of your minibus don’t react aggressively to their poor judgement. It is easy to get wound up by tailgating but if you can take a deep breath, stay calm and let the vehicle pass, your chances of being involved in an accident are greatly reduced.

2. Driver Training

The Community Transport Association (CTA) is the lead UK body for voluntary and community transport. They oversee two minibus driver training schemes, MiDAS and CommunityDriver, which are recognised by the majority of insurance providers.

MiDAS (Minibus Driver Training Scheme) covers all areas of driving a minibus safely. It is suitable for an individual or for companies that operate a fleet of vehicles. The test helps to increase a driver’s confidence and passenger safety is improved.

The CommunityDriver scheme helps a minibus driver obtain a D1 licence. This is now required for all driving licences issued after 1st January 1997. To obtain a D1 licence a driver must pass a theory test, a hazard perception test and then undertake a full medical. The CommunityDriver scheme provides all that is needed to obtain the licence, including locally based trainers and learning materials. Tests are arranged at convenient locations for the driver.

Driver training will greatly reduce the risk of an accident. And evidence of such training may result in a discount on your minibus insurance.

3. Passenger Awareness

Transporting passengers is the main reason for driving a minibus. But in many instances their behaviour can be the cause of an accident.

Don’t start chatting with any of the passengers. If a passenger comes up to the front of the minibus and tries to engage you in conversation, remind him or her that there is a safety issue.

Try to keep all passengers in their seats at all times. If passengers are moving about, or if there are more at one side of the vehicle than at the other, it can cause instability.

Ask passengers to fasten their seat belts. It is now law for seat belts to be used at all times by the driver and passengers. Children below 135cm in height need to wear a child restraint in addition to a seat belt.

If your minibus is fitted with a microphone do not use it while the vehicle is moving, unless in an emergency. It may seem perfectly normal to point out places of interest to your passengers but it will be a distraction that could cause an accident.

And don’t allow passengers to drink alcohol on a minibus. Alcohol is actually illegal on buses going to and from sporting fixtures.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident then the best advice is to stay calm. Losing your temper, however angry you may feel, will not help an already difficult situation. By taking a controlled approach to the situation you will help ensure your passengers’ safety. And be sure to collect as much information at the scene as possible. It may help resolve any legal or minibus insurance issues that may follow.