DRIVER AND TRAVEL POLICIES
The Eagle’s Nest Foundation recognizes that driving is potentially one of the most dangerous activities for our staff and campers. Therefore, ENF maintains the highest of standards and expectations for staff who are either driving or riding in an ENF vehicle.
- Any time campers are taken off campus, staff accompanying them are “on duty” and responsible for them at all times until returning to campus.
- Staff accompanying the trip should have at least First Aid and CPR certification and the knowledge of where medical assistance can be obtained. Please review the “Off Campusm Procedures” section of the ENF General Risk and Safety Management Plans.
To Become an “Approved” Eagle’s Nest Foundation (ENF) Vehicle Driver
- To operate an ENF vehicle, the driver must possess a valid driver’s license, be at least 19 years of age, and pass an ENF driving test.
- To transport campers or students, drivers must be 21 years of age (except in extraordinary cases approved by the Director and insurance company) or older in addition to the criteria above.
- All drivers must review, sign, and submit the Travel Standards and Procedures for Operating Vehicles, the Driving Record Permission Form, and the Driver Information Form.
- All ENF drivers will participate in driver training during orientation and pass an ENF driving test.
- All drivers will be responsive to peer and administrative review. Administrators may revoke driving privileges and/or require retraining if driver performance is questionable.
- Our insurance provider must approve anyone driving an ENF vehicle, whether owned or leased.
Prior to Departure
- The appropriate Trip Request Form must be filed and the vehicle signed out. Written itineraries, (including a list of participants, estimated time of return, and, when out of the local area, driving directions) will be filled by trip leaders with the Program Office during Camp, and with the Program Office or Salt Mines during OA.
- Before leaving on each trip, the driver must inspect the vehicle and complete the Vehicle Maintenance Checklist to ensure that the vehicle is in good repair. Notify the Property Manager and appropriate program manager if any problems are identified, and correct problems before departure.
- If towing a trailer:
- Secure and lock the trailer hitch.
- Attach chains to the pulling vehicle (making an “X” under the hitch)
- Ensure electric plug for lights is free of grit. Plug in lights.
- Check lights
- Make sure objects on the trailer are tied down tightly. The driver is responsible for items falling off a trailer.
- Secure all ropes - no loose ends!
- Inspect the whole system—trailer structure, tires, hitch integrity, equipment security, etc. Notify appropriate program manager and Property Manager of any suspected problems immediately.
- At every stop where a staff member leaves the vehicle, check the security of tie-downs again.
- When the vehicle is unattended, backpacks and other equipment should be secured inside the locked vehicle. Box trailers should be kept locked.
- ENF does not permit the top loading of any ENF vehicles. Boats may not be transported on the tops of the vans.
- Vehicles should have a First Aid Kit, phone numbers, fire extinguisher, road signal markers (triangles) and a spare key.
- All trips must carry an ENF cell phone, signed out through the Program Office (Camp) or Moe's Hillside (OA). Please see the Cell Phone Policy for more information.
- Trip leaders will carry a copy of each person’s medical form (both participants and staff) if the group is traveling away from ENF overnight, or taking a wilderness excursion that will result in being more than one hour from a hospital. Rock Climbing and Paddling groups will always carry medical forms.
- Know expected return times, and call the ENF office or administrator on duty if not back within 30 minutes of your given return time. Remember that driving safely takes priority over the schedule!
- Driver or other staff member should check all doors for safe closure.
- Driver or other staff member will educate their passengers on emergency procedures and safety regulations: evacuation methods, safety devices, etc.
- Seat belts must be worn by anyone riding in a vehicle: staff, volunteers, campers, and students.
- Campers who are under both 80 pounds and 8 years old must have a booster seat if (and ONLY if) riding in a seat with a shoulder strap. Boosters are not to be used in any seat that does not have a shoulder strap (this includes all seats in mini-buses). Boosters are available in the Program Office.
- All passengers must remain seated while the vehicle is in motion.
- With every trip out, at least two (2) staff members per vehicle will be present to provide adequate supervision. Doctor visits, local OA class excursions, and caravans are exceptions; see caravan policy for more information.
- All vehicles will be loaded within the passenger seating limits established by the manufacturer. No students, campers, or staff will be transported in the bed of a truck or other open vehicles. No participants are allowed on top of vehicles.
- Hayrides using an open trailer will be conducted only on improved campus roads at speeds no greater than 10 mph. There will be no off-campus hayrides at any time other than the October Trustee Retreat or fall reunion events. These will be limited to local roads and a sweep vehicle will be used.
- Passengers may only exit through the rear or emergency exits in an emergency.
- Have any passenger who has a history of motion sickness or who feels carsick ride as close to the front of the vehicle as possible. If a student becomes ill, pull over as describe in the Emergency Stopping Procedures below.
- Participants should remain in the vehicle while refueling; participants be supervised away from refueling and traffic at the discretion of the driver.
- Participants may not ride “shotgun” (i.e. in the front passenger seat) in any vehicle.
- Disruptive passengers should be moved to the front of the vehicle and the direct supervision of the co-pilot. If the disruption continues the driver should stop safely until the behavior is corrected.
- Transportation of non-participants (any minor not enrolled in an ENF program or adult not serving as a staff member or official volunteer) is discouraged. Never pick up hitchhikers or provide shuttles to hikers or boaters. At select times, when it is urgently necessary or can save resources, it may be permissible to transport non-participants known to the Foundation. Permission should be given by your supervisor prior to the trip. The ENF employee is to be the only driver, and all passengers must follow ENF policies.
Safe Driving Guidelines
- Drivers cannot drive any Foundation vehicle, or any vehicle rented by the Foundation, if they have consumed alcohol within the last 8 hours.
- Drivers may not use a cell phone while operating an ENF vehicle. If a call must be made, a staff passenger should make the call or the driver must safely pull over.
- The driver is responsible for the vehicle and passengers at all times.
- Adhere to all state traffic and driving laws, including speed limits.
- When backing an ENF vehicle, the co-pilot must locate themselves behind the vehicle and direct the driver as they back up. On vehicles not equipped with a reverse alarm, the driver should honk the horn to alert the co-pilot that they are about to back up.
- A bus or van is wider and longer than your car. Making wider turns is necessary.
- A bus or van is heavier than your car and takes longer to stop, especially on wet roads. Adjust your following distance accordingly, and slow down further in bad weather. Be vigilant and polite when behind cyclists (very common in our area).
- A minibus is approximately 9’8” tall; our StarCraft bus (#3) is taller. Watch your clearance at low bridges, and do not attempt to park buses in parking decks (vans are OK).
- You can downshift and use a lower gear when descending steep or long hills.
- Vehicles are equipped with anti-lock braking (ABS), intended to mechanically keep the vehicle from skidding. If the vehicle has ABS, do not pump the brakes; the ABS will not function properly.
- Watch your gauges (oil, temp, etc.).
- It is acceptable to carefully pass tractors and cyclists; otherwise, avoid passing on two-lane roads.
- Do not use cruise control on slippery, winding, or unpaved roads; in heavy traffic; or if you are tired.
- No body appendages or objects hanging outside the vehicle while in motion.
- Be cautious on unpaved roads, especially if there has been recent rain. Most gravel roads in our area are narrow and may be prone to collapse if the ground is wet or eroded.
- Use lower gears as needed. Stay in second gear (“S” or “2”) on downhills. Shift down or use regular “D” gear on uphills/flats to avoid damaging the transmission.
- Do not exceed 20mph at any time.
- Try to stay close to the center of the road. Stay off shoulders; they are soft. You should have at least 18” of space between the tire and the visible edge of the road.
- If a road appears too eroded, rocky, or flooded (that is, it has ruts deep enough to get a wheel stuck, rocks large enough to contact the bumpers, washed-out areas, significant water on the roadway, or high water at a ford), do not proceed. Remember that it may be harder to get out than in. Be particularly vigilant on the FS roads to Turkey Pen and Courthouse Falls.
- Use the horn when going around blind bends to alert oncoming traffic.
- When approached by another vehicle, pull to the more stable (usually uphill) side and stop. Let the other car pass. If one vehicle must reverse, let the oncoming car do so if possible.
- If you are out on ENF business in an ENF vehicle and you need to run a personal errand that is not out of the way, it is permissible to use the ENF vehicle (e.g., stopping at the bank, etc.). Avoid this if students/campers are in the vehicle.
- Staff should check weather reports and not venture into unsafe driving conditions.
Procedures for Driving and Stops
Stops along the highway may be planned or unplanned. In any event, the instructor or counselor should divide the group into manageable sub-groups before the stop is made.
- Move off the road as far as possible.
- the vehicle in park, turn off the engine, apply the emergency brake, and remove the key.
- Students and campers leave the vehicle only when instructed to do so by staff in charge.
- Staff will direct any road crossings in the “Army” way: one line abreast at the same time.
- The buddy system is recommended.
Emergency Stopping Procedures
Follow above guidelines and:
- Turn on emergency flashers/hazard lights.
- A staff member should be the first person out of the vehicle.
- Set up reflector triangles or flares 100 feet in front of and behind vehicle; if the vehicle is on a curve, set reflectors around the bend to warn approaching traffic.
- Make a considered decision about leaving students in the vehicle. Are they safer in or out?
- If leaving the vehicle, only staff should open the doors. Passengers will exit only through those doors.
- Students/campers move away from the road and assemble as a group before moving further away from the vehicle. A staff member should supervise the group at all times.
Travel Emergencies – Car Trouble
If a mechanical emergency arises one staff member will be put in charge of the campers while the driver attends to the mechanical difficulty if it is safe to do so. If repairs are necessary a phone call should be made to campus to discuss the situation with the Property Manager and/or appropriate program manager. The welfare of campers or students should come first – help vehicles can be sent and attention to the vehicle postponed until the situation is safe. Refer to Vehicle Accident/Incident/Breakdown form.
Travel Emergencies – Accident, Injury, or Medical Emergency
- Identify and initiate care for injured members of the group. Staff should stay with the injured person.
- Provide care/supervision for the uninjured members of the group. Relocate the group to a safe location as necessary.
- Render first aid to your standard of care; follow guidelines in the first aid kit.
- If the injury is serious or life-threatening, seek medical help immediately by calling 911. If no other help is available or phones do not work and the vehicle is operable, it may be used to reach cell phone access or transport the injured to a medical facility. Otherwise, do not remove the vehicle from the accident scene. Call ENF Administrator on Duty as soon as possible.
- If the injury is not serious, call ENF Administrator on Duty to report the incident, and state your plan of action. ENF home staff may provide additional instructions and support.
- Fill out an Incident Report Form and Vehicle Accident/Incident form (if applicable) as soon as possible (located in the paperwork bag of the van kit) while the events are still fresh in your mind.
- If other vehicles are involved, collect contact and insurance information on the Vehicle Accident/Incident Form.
- Be sure to identify witnesses if possible.
General statement: while traveling with programs, always uphold ENF Travel Standards and ENF Driver Guidelines, but most importantly, use common sense.
- Directions, maps, phone numbers, contacts, and any other pertinent information will be provided for each vehicle. This allows vehicles to determine their own pace and remain independent entities. Plan ahead to meet at specific points as required.
- Each vehicle will maintain speed and necessary space between one another dependent upon physical and environmental road conditions, regardless of the need to remain “together”.
- Think ahead if you are driving the lead vehicle: if another vehicle is following, will it fit in the pull-off you have chosen? How do you know the other vehicle has not broken down? Be aware!
- Think ahead if you are following the lead vehicle or another in the caravan: do you have to follow the other vehicle everywhere? Can we fit where the other vehicle has pulled off? Should the following vehicle stay in visual contact with other vehicles?
- When caravanning on local trips, the Administration may deem it appropriate for groups to maintain a 1:10 staff-student ratio for The Outdoor Academy (e.g., three staff for two vehicles caravanning together).
- Communication: you will have an ENF cellphone. Two-way radios may also be provided. Please use these devices safely and remember that with radios, others may be listening! If decided upon by the drivers, other forms of communication may be used (e.g., flashing lights to indicate need for a stop).
- Fill the vehicle with gas before coming back to campus if the tank is less than half full.
- Clean the vehicle and close and lock all windows after your trip.
- Bring the completed van maintenance form, gas receipts, keys, ENF cellphone, and Vehicle First Aid Kit back to the Program Office (summer) or Moe's Hillside (OA) as soon as the trip is over. The vehicle should always be left in park with the emergency brake on.
Long Road Trips and Extended Trips
- Long road trips:
- Change drivers every four hours. If there are no other drivers, stop and rest for at least an hour every four hours. No driver shall operate the vehicle for over 8 total hours in a single day.
- At least one additional staff must stay awake and support the driver.
- On multi-day trips, driving will not take place overnight; all driving will stop at dusk and resume after dawn.
- ENF vehicles may be taken off campus an evening ahead of a road trip if the planning of the trip requires departure early the following morning. Vehicles cannot be used for personal purposes during that time period.
- If work duties require you to be away from your home overnight, discretion should be used in regards to personal errands. Short personal errands may be run if it does not put you or the vehicle at undue risk. All policies concerning vehicles should be adhered to.
- If returning after normal business hours, employees will have the option to return the vehicle that same day/night or by lunch on the following day. If another employee needs the vehicle for business use on the following day, the vehicle should be returned as soon as possible. If this option is exercised, the ENF vehicle will not be used for personal errands after returning home (i.e., you may make a stop at the grocery store on the way home since you have been out of town, but you may not take the vehicle out for personal appointments).
Thank you for supporting these procedures and helping us run a safe program. If you have any questions, please ask them before you sign the guidelines.