Driving students in a school vehicle? Keep an eye on the road as well as the kids. Here are several tips for preventing tire damage while on the road.

Sometimes teaching takes you out of the classroom, and you might be called on to take students to and from an event using a school vehicle. More than likely, all school cars, vans, and busses are looked after by a mechanic or some other individual hired by the school. However, once you and your charges hit the road, you’re the only one who can ensure you all arrive at your destination safe and sound. Tires are especially vital to safety, so commit the following tips for preventing tire damage while on the road to memory.

Check the Tires…Then Double Check Them

Few things are more frustrating than getting a flat tire, and fewer things are more dangerous than blowing a tire and ending up in a ditch. Fortunately, a basic review can make either outcome more unlikely. Check tire pressure before you leave. The proper PSI should be indicated on a sticker inside the driver’s door. Look for signs of tire damage, too. Clearly, sharp objects shouldn’t be sticking out of a tire, but also look for extreme wear in the treads, cracks in the sidewalls, and evidence of cupping, which presents as large scoops in the middle of the treads. Alert the vehicle manager to any of these immediately.

Avoid Dangerous Conditions, Obviously

Stick to the main roads and avoid areas with potholes, puddles (which can hide surprisingly deep potholes), rocks and stones, glass, metal, and plastic debris left behind by accidents or dropped by other vehicles, and other objects. You’re not driving a tank. Even if you think you can just drive over that paper bag, soda can, pile of gravel, or what have you up ahead—don’t. You may find yourself fixing a tire while a dozen deeply bored kids wait nearby.

The Weather Is Your Enemy

You’ve probably driven through rain, sleet, snow, fog, and hot and cold temperatures hundreds of times with no ill effects. Don’t think that’ll always be the norm. Tire pressure is particularly affected by the cold, decreasing as the temperature drops. Likewise, heat can expand the rubber in your tires, which, you guessed it, can also increase tire pressure, possibly leading to a blowout. And all those different kinds of precipitation can cut visibility to practically nothing, leaving you blind to naturally camouflaged tire-puncturing debris. When the weather gets bad, always assume the road is even worse. Slow down and watch out!

Be Prepared for Anything

A key technique for preventing tire damage while on the road is to not get caught with your guard down. However, if you are caught, make sure you’re ready. Presumably, your school will already have a roadside service provider set up to come out and repair your vehicle. If not, your vehicle should come with an emergency kit containing road flares, a car jack, a lug wrench, a spare tire, and other basic maintenance tools. If you’re unfamiliar with these, ask someone for a quick lesson in how to use them!