On the Road Again, Only Safer

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008 there were more than 3,300 traffic fatalities in Texas alone; making driving a vehicle one of the most dangerous activities an individual performs on a daily basis. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control’s Injury Prevention and Control for Vehicle Safety states that in the United States, motor vehicle–related injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 34.

The risk of a vehicle accident is not limited to commercial vehicles such as tractor/trailer units, box trucks or other commercial-style vehicles. There are more miles driven each year by salesmen, delivery drivers and others in cares, vans and pickup trucks than in commercial vehicles.

Supervisors and managers can educate employees on some of the following driver safety tips to prepare employees for the road ahead. This is particularly important for employees who travel as a function of their job, but do not have it as their primary function.

Fasten Your Seat Belt: Buckle up for safety and control. A seat belt can save your life and those around you if you are ever in a collision. Wearing seatbelts is still the single most effective thing drivers can do to save lives and reduce injuries on roadways.

Take Care of Yourself: The driver plays the most important role in a moving vehicle. Get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel to make sure you are alert and in the best condition to operate a vehicle.

Always Maintain Your Vehicle: Inspect your vehicle before each trip, and learn how to check your breaks and identify safety defects with the vehicle.

Be Aware of Your “No-Zone”: Other drivers may not be aware of your blind spots, making it imperative to constantly check and be aware of blind spots. One-third of all crashes between larger service vehicles and cars happen when a vehicle is in another driver’s blind spot.

Slow Down in Work Zones: Watch out for highway construction and always be alert. Give yourself plenty of room and time when traveling through a work zone.

Always Keep Your Distance: Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you hit someone from behind you are typically considered “at fault.” Larger vehicles require more time to stop, so anticipate braking situations.

Always Drive Defensively: Avoid aggressive drivers. It is estimated that each year two thirds of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive drivers. Keep your distance and maintain a safe speed.

Check and Recheck Transport Materials: If you are transporting goods—whether it’s field equipment or building materials—be sure everything is completely secure before you begin driving and recheck the security of those items every time you stop. Straps and harnesses can loosen during a long trip, so drivers should check them often.

Drivers may think that transportation on the job is an easy part of work because we drive every day—but it’s easy to forget even the most basic safety practices because they are habitual. Re-education of your workers and reinforcement of proper safety practices can help reduce the monetary costs created by accidents, and more importantly save lives.

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