The van driver’s overriding responsibility is the safety of all the hikers en route to and from the trailhead. A secondary goal is the comfort of all during the drive.
You are the final authority as to whether the van and the route to and from the trailhead are safe.
Check the van assigned by the senior center prior to leaving the center. You may use the Van Driver’s Checklist. Determine if there are any obvious safety issues. Check that you have enough fuel to get there and back and that the suitcase of equipment is present in the back of the van. If you know or suspect that the hike will be outside of cell phone range, check out the Garmin InReach device from the center and verify that it is at least 50% charged. You and the hike leader should delay the hike to resolve any van safety issues or cancel the hike if van safety issues aren’t resolved.
Report all problems with the van or InReach to the center program coordinator and the hike coordinator in person and/or in writing, using the Van Drivers Checklist if convenient. You may also send an email message explaining the problem. (Email addresses for center program coordinators and center managers are available on the Albuquerque Senior Affairs website, specific center page.)
If the van has a flat tire, you may attempt to change it yourself. See instructions (with photos) for changing a flat tire on a senior van.
Sometimes stops along the way are described in the hike description or schedule entry. Hikers usually need a restroom break on the way to and the way back from a hike. Other stops for refreshments are up to the van driver where to stop or whether to stop at all.
Obtain the Garmin InReach unit from the center and be responsible for its safe keeping. Use the InReach during the hike as follows:
- Turn the device on/off.
- Send regular, preset messages back to the center.
- Send non-emergency messages requiring communication with the center.
- Send an SOS during an emergency and communicate with emergency personnel.
The van driver may delegate the handling and utilization of the InReach to the hike leader or to another experienced hiker who knows how to use it. However, the final responsibility for returning the InReach back to the center in good condition belongs to the van driver.
Hike Leader/Van Driver 101
Review the Van Driving section of this document for tips and situations that our van drivers have experienced during some of our hikes.