SOUTH BEND — Navigating a car down the snowy streets takes some skill, but imagine driving a bus loaded with kids.
When the school bell rings, the kids are ready to get home. It is Sharon Lula's job to make sure they get there safely.
"The streets are a lot better than they were earlier this week," said Lula as she began her first bus route Thursday.
Lula's job isn't easy. She has to navigate the nearly 40-foot South Bend school bus, filled with youngsters, down the narrow roads — meanwhile battling poor visibility, slippery streets, piles of snow and other cars. But the worse part, for Lula, is turning.
"Not only when you are turning but when you are trying to get down a narrow road and you are sliding back and forth," said Lula, "you have to go slow enough so you don't hit them and you can't go too slow or you'll get stuck."
That means Lula has to think quickly, especially with other cars on the road.
"A lot of the problems we had earlier this week were when we were in intersections trying to get through," said Lula, "you would look down the intersection and see one or two cars stuck somewhere, blocking the whole street."
Lula said every now and then she may have had to change the route, or the next bus stop. In that case, she calls the school district's transportation department to notify parents of the change.
Neighbors along Lula's route appreciate her safe driving, but say the city could do more to make sure these busses have the space they need.
"If the city would organize a rule or instruction for us to move to the one side or the other side at a certain time so they can get out of the way," said Jaymes Mobley.
Lula, though, will do what she can despite what Mother Nature throws on the road ahead.