If you're a confident car driver, you can be a confident coach driver. This article will answer the basic questions you may have. You'll learn that maneuvering a large vehicle isn't difficult and that modern coach gearboxes are as easy to operate as your car's manual gearbox. Of course, you'll have to get trained and licensed. This article is intended to encourage you to take that crucial first step.
Career Coach Driving
Knowing the basics of coach driving will help you decide if this is the job for you.
I'll explain how to drive a coach – it's not much different from a car once you have got a good grip of the basics.
These are your eyes. You don't have a rear vision mirror in the coach so you have to rely on your side mirrors. Make sure your mirrors are set up so you can see clearly see from the rear wheels to the rear of the vehicle. You will be steering around corners so you'll need to know where your coach is situated on the road when maneuvering the bend. On the straights, you'll need to constantly check the mirrors to ensure that your coach is within the lines which are your side of road.
If you can change gear using a manual gear box, you can change gear in a coach. Unlike heavy trucks, which might need double-clutching and have up to 18 gears, your modern coach will probably only have seven gears – and they will be fully synchronized, just like your car gear box.
Many new drivers might be concerned about the height of the coach. There isn't any thing to be worried about! (but in high wind situations please do take care). If you're an employed coach driver, most routes will be fully checked out by the owner of the coach as being capable of coach travel (ie no low bridges) but, in any case, there is usually a height figure printed somewhere on the control panel. If the roading authorities have got their act together, there will also be height signs on low bridges.
This is another issue that new drivers need not be unduly concerned about. Refer to the 'mirrors' section of this article for sealed roads with no parked vehicles. There will be situations when you do have to move over the center line (for instance to pass parked vehicles). Provided no other vehicle is coming towards you, you can make your move. If another vehicle then appears on the other side of the road, just keep advancing. Don't worry, the other vehicle will wait until you have completed your maneuver. Do not be timid when driving a large vehicle. Take control of the road!
With cars, we can listen for the exhaust sound or a labored engine to determine when to change gear. Most coaches have their engines far away at the rear, so even though it is possible to change gear using the car method, the best method, bar none, is to use your rev counter. Most coach manufacturers will have a green zone printed on the rev counter dial, and it is there to help you to change gear. When the needle of the rev counter reaches the upper part of the green zone, you'll need to change up a gear, and when the needle reaches the lower part of the green zone (for instance when climbing a hill) you'll need to change down a gear.
Of course, it isn't advisable to start driving a coach just on the strength of this one article. You will need training and a license to drive. But I will consider this article a success if I've convinced you that coach driving is not as difficult as you might have thought. Give it a go – it's a great job choice.