Upfits Designed with Ergonomics in Mind

Ford E 150 vanWork Truck magazine recently ran a great article titled; “Upfits Designed with Ergonomics in Mind.” It addresses common Worker Compensation injuries that may occur around work trucks — specifically from lifting and awkward movements leading to sprains, strains and chronic pain.

The article provides some detailed facts to provide context and highlight the seriousness of these injuries:

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) estimates that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the U.S. account for more than 600,000 injuries and illnesses, about 34 percent of all lost workdays reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). MSDs are especially prevalent in the transportation and material moving sector, with the third-highest incident rate among all industries in 2011, according to the BLS. And, each reported MSD incident can be expensive to employers, accounting for one out of every $3 spent on workers’ compensation, according to OSHA, which estimates that employers spend as much as $20 billion per year in direct costs for MSD-related workers’ compensation, and up to five times that much for indirect costs, such as those associated with hiring and training replacement workers.

The article provides six key areas where safety teams can get started with engineering changes that reduce the risks of injury:

  1. Recessed Bulkheads/ Partitions
  2. In-Cab Work Stations
  3. Drop-Down Ladder Racks
  4. Adding Steps and Handles
  5. Using Liftgates
  6. Roll Out Cargo Beds

StepVANSEach area can reduce stress, and make lifting and reaching easier on the job.

The print edition of the magazine includes many photographs to provide contextual insight on how these devices work and would help your mobile workforce.

www.worktruckonline.com

 

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Commercial Vehicle Insurance

SafetyFirstAn interesting article titled “Insurance: You Can’t Avoid Risk” appears in the September 2014 issue of FleetOwner.

This article caught my attention at the second paragraph:

Crashes involving trucks and the resulting insurance claims can grab quite a chunk from the bottom line of any motor carrier [or any company operating a fleet of vehicles – SF]. According to data compiled several years ago by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the cost of a crash involving one Class 8 tractor pulling a single 53-ft. trailer runs to $172,292.  If just one person gets injured in such a crash, the average cost balloons to $334,892.  And if a fatality occurs in such a crash, the average cost skyrockets to over $7.6 million.

The article also comments that insurance costs to cover premiums and out of pocket costs can be as much as 4% of the total cost of operation (TCO).

PoliceFleets looking to reduce their costs can ask for discounts and creative payment plans, but in order to materially reduce insurance expense, the only long-term solution is to earnestly work to reduce their risk of loss through aggressive and tailored crash-avoidance strategies.

Naturally, we can’t control how the general public drives on any given day, but as transportation safety professionals, fleet management teams can work with their commercial drivers, insurers, and current safety vendors to increase results.

Ideas to consider:

  1. Smash through the most common barrier to results: complacency. Many fleet teams think they’ve done all that they can and sometimes it can be hard to re-evaluate and re-tool programs to get better results.  “We’ve always done it this way” and “don’t fix what isn’t broken” are dangerous phrases if you’re sincere about enhancing risk results. It’s easy to assume that everything is working well and focus on trying “new stuff” just because it’s new and trendy, but sometimes it’s the underlying (un-sexy) tasks that are slipping through the cracks.  Be honest in evaluating what’s working and what could work better.
  2. Increase vigilance and safety awareness – just as consciously scanning the road ahead for possible hazards and motorists who may cut off trucks is critical to safe driving, management teams also have a responsibility to forecast ways to increase safety in their operations and processes.  Careful analysis of past crashes and understanding what might have contributed to them happening from a process and systems standpoint may uncover opportunities to improve your management strategy.
  3. Develop an even stronger communication strategy with drivers – not just talking at them or demanding more from them, but also learning to listen carefully to their feedback about what’s working and what’s failing to work as well as it could or should. Understanding what processes and systems keep drivers from excelling at their job and helping them with appropriate assistance could be an area to leverage.
  4. Integrate technology where it will help the most.  Technology can be applied in most fleet operations to help deliver insights into ways to increase efficiency or improve safety factors.  The trouble is that for most fleets technology can be disruptive as well. There’s a learning curve to adopting new systems and there must be vigilance in translating these data packets into meaningful management action.  If the follow up isn’t helpful to drivers or other team members, then it may not be worth the effort. One example could be adopting an online education program to refresh drivers on basic safety issues.  If the program is difficult to access, or the videos are tedious, too long, boring or poorly executed then drivers won’t pay attention or change habits.  Investing in a system that is easy to use and has interesting, short programs may be a better course of action.
  5. Actively monitor / manage your CSA scores.  While the CSA score isn’t the best indicator of operational excellence, your team shouldn’t ignore this score, either.  The Bookend BASICS have been discussed elsewhere on this blog — Unsafe Driving and Crash Rate.  When the bookends are firmly managed, the stuff in the middle tends to sort itself out, too.
  6. Don’t be shy in asking for help from your insurer.  Most insurers offer loss control support in various ways — consultants, technical bulletins, and other resources are available but only if you ask for them.  Agents can review your current policies to make sure you have appropriate coverage, and help you navigate the service offerings that come with your policy to be certain you’re getting the maximum benefit for the cost you’ve already agreed to pay.
  7. Leverage your existing safety vendor relationships. Many fleets already work with safety support vendors on issue ranging from log auditing to DQF maintenance.
    1. Are you using the most current service offering from each vendor?
    2. Are there new benefits or features that you could be using?
    3. Does your vendor offer a support network, webinars, or other meetings that could introduce new ideas or help you network with peers in order to increase safety results?
  8. Join, and participate in, a vehicle safety networking group.  Hearing about other peer’s experiences can help you save time, get to decisions more quickly and leverage other professionals learning lessons (why make the same mistake, or why not benefit if they’ve already proven something works well?)  Of course, this commitment works best when you’re an active participant – sharing with the group your own experiences.  It won’t work as well if you join and then lurk in the shadows quietly.

Managing insurance costs is important.  You want to have the right coverage for when things go wrong unexpectedly, but you also want to do whatever is practical to avoid claims or keep their costs as low as possible.

There are many safety articles at this blog site to give you more ideas on ways to prevent crashes.

Let us know what you do that works well at your fleet!

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Telematics in Non-Trucking Markets

The use of telematics to help manage fleet operations has been growing over the past thirty years for several reasons:

  1. The cost of the systems has been decreasing
  2. Long term contracts have given way to month-to-month packages (allowing easier upgrade paths as technology improves)
  3. The amount of valuable data developed by the “typical” system has been increasing
  4. Early adopters (aka “pioneers”) have worked out the “snafus” and overcome initial obstacles thru trial and error
  5. Case studies have evolved from “sales pitch stories” to helpful, detailed accounts of how peer fleets are using the data to modify their operations for improved efficiency and effectiveness
  6. Management reporting has evolved from simple “data dumps” to dashboards and metrics that help managers understand the trends more clearly
  7. Specialty applications for targeted niche markets are becoming affordable as simple “add-ons” instead of fully customized adventures
  8. More industry segments that use “wheels” in their daily operations are identifying ways that telematics packages can help them streamline and enhance their daily practices.

While Over-The-Road truckers were the main group of early adopters, many other types of commercial fleets are expected to eclipse this segment in the next five to ten years:

  • Municipalities (to track completed operations like plowing, salting, trash collection, etc)
  • Taxi/Limo/Bus operations (to integrate into consumer apps that enable automated pick up requests, routing, peak equipment utilization, etc.)
  • Construction fleets (to locate equipment and manage the distribution from job site to job site, etc.)
  • Local delivery operations (to take advantage of the pioneering work of the long-haul fleet experience)
  • Service Industries (to keep consumers happy with on-time arrivals, updates on wait times, etc.)

Even school bus fleets are seeing tremendous benefits for issues like accounting for student pickups and drop offs, bus ETA, wait times, etc.

It can be difficult to accurately estimate the number of fleets using telematics as there are different ways to count “active use” — it could mean “has a fleet ever installed a single unit”? Or it could mean “has a fleet installed a test group of units”?

Regardless, most estimates place 1 in 5 fleets having tested or deployed telematics in some format (whether testing of a handful of units or something greater).

The benefits and applications of telematics are many.  To summarize these efficiently, we echo the “four pillar” concept that we’ve learned from GeoTab:

  1. Compliance – telematics can provide electronic logging of hours of service, and can prove your fleet’s movements with accurate time/location mapping (and we can integrate data into our E-DriverFile platform for efficient data management, too)
  2. Fleet – fuel economy, idle reduction, remote diagnosis of engine details, and equipment utilization are key to most operations
  3. Safety – driver behaviors in the form of aggressive driving and overt risk taking can be monitored and used to trigger appropriate coaching and educational programs (and our integration of Training and MVR solutions can maximize the GPS data value in both identifying and addressing risky behaviors)
  4. Productivity – knowing when your drivers go off route, backtrack to missed stops or simply dawdle at lunch time can increase your productivity immediately.

From the earliest satellite platforms that cost thousands of dollars per truck to implement and maintain to today’s “plug and play” packages that start around $35-$40 per vehicle per month, your fleet can benefit from telematics applications.

The key concerns are typically identified as cost, ease of installation, ease of use, driver acceptance, quality of reporting and avoiding “hidden charges”, but all of that comes from selecting a partner who provides trustworthy service, supports your team, helps with analysis and can integrate your data into additional portals for enhanced reporting.

SafetyFirst has decades of experience in driver safety programming, and we’ve been integrating telematics data into our existing programs since 2001 as a data aggregator for enhanced reporting.  We have the “know how” and the “can-do” attitude to support your expansion into telematics.

Stretching “pup” trailers used for doubles

Presently, the longest single trailer commonly seen on the roads is a 53 foot trailer.

53 foot trailer

There’s a proposal to take “double trailers” (currently each trailer at 28 feet long) and “stretch” them to 33 feet apiece. Adding the gap between the two trailers it would be over 70 feet long.

Doubles

Although this boosts productivity, is it too long for safety on our current road system?

I believe that the overwhelming majority of professional drivers and their support teams care deeply about safety and avoiding any incident.  I also know that in poor weather (high wind, torrential rain, etc.) it may become very difficult to maneuver doubles so that they remain in their lane.  I suppose it boils down to whether 10 extra feet would make any material difference in handling.

See full article HERE.

Benchmarking Violation Data

Atri 2011 coverIn 2005 and 2011, ATRI provided a ground-breaking study of the connection between violations and increased crash risk (Click Here).

Having studied more than a half-million driver records, the analysis was incontrovertible and carries powerful implications for driver safety supervisors, managers and directors.

In short, when a driver receives a violation, the likelihood of a crash also goes up by a specific factor.  

We’ve also seen a connection between tighter MVR profiles and decreased crash numbers:

“As recently reported at a fleet safety conference, two similar fleets had chosen to use the same standard for MVR review — exclude violations greater than 36 months old and allow for a combination of three violations and one preventable crash before suspending driving privileges.  One of these fleets tightened their standard to two violations and one crash during the most recent 24 months and saw a five point reduction in collisions (from 22% of their fleet vehicles involved in a crash per year to 17% of their vehicles involved in a crash) and $2 million in savings.”  (click here for full coverage)

Now our question to progressive fleet teams is this — are you benchmarking your driver profile results against national trends in violations to assess relative crash risk?

Violatios Table

Consider this table (above) and how your individual drivers stack up against national averages.  IF your drivers have a greater share of violations than the average, what would you do to step up your performance monitoring or refresher coaching?

  • Could this data be used against you in a Negligent Supervision lawsuit?
  • Is your defense going to be proactive and demonstrate that you actively monitor this data and assign coaching, education, monitoring resources or to claim “we didn’t know“? (not knowing is never a realistic defense)

If you’re using an automated MVR solution to pull in MVR data and profile it, you should be considering:

  1. whether the ACD code tables are up to date (many providers haven’t updated their code lists in years and can’t even post a texting violation properly!)
  2. whether your data can be exported to spreadsheet for analysis against national records like the table presented above, or whether your provider can automatically provide a comparison on a “driver-by-driver basis” against such public data
  3. whether your MVR profiling efforts should include other proactive, leading indicators of performance such as GPS alerts, how’s my driving alerts, or even camera in cabin video analysis.
  4. how you compare actual MVR results to your own loss data to validate the ATRI study and take action on “at-risk” drivers to reduce collisions
  5. how to link your MVR (ACD Codes) to refresher training modules to document immediate action taken on all drivers (who show a change in results) each time their MVR is obtained.

Of course, it may be easier to simply use our plug-n-play E-DriverFile system, Safety Hotline Program and “SafetyZone” LMS to handle these issues for you.  We work with the nation’s largest fleets (of CMVs and non-regulated vehicles, too!) to help manage risk, safety and results.  We also maintain an “in-network” system of relationships with more than 75 insurance providers who use our services with their select, targeted clients.

Copy of Copy of EDF LOGO (final)

Everyone is a Pedestrian

Whether “my other car is a Mack Truck” or something a bit smaller, we all spend time walking from place to place, too.  Pedestrian safety is a big issue since vehicles and pedestrians interact at intersections, crosswalks and other places.

The term “pedestrian” actually includes more than just people walking along the road — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), A pedestrian is 490x300-peds…any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash.

NHTSA recently released a revised Traffic Safety Fact sheet on Pedestrians, and launched a new web site to help educate about the opportunity to prevent injuries (http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/everyoneisapedestrian/index.html)

Consider that:

In 2011, 4,432 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 69,000 were injured in
traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two
hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.  (Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, August, 2013)

Clearly, we have a responsibility to raise our collective awareness of the issues that lead to these injuries and deaths in order to prevent them.

Interesting factoids about pedestrian collisions recorded during 2011 (most recent complete year of stats available):

  • PEDESTRIAN-SIGN2Pedestrian deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities
  • Almost three-fourths (73%) of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting versus a rural setting.
  • Over two-thirds (70%) of pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections versus at intersections.
  • Eighty-eight percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions (clear/cloudy), compared to rain, snow and foggy conditions.
  • A majority of the pedestrian fatalities, 70 percent, occurred during the nighttime (6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m.)
  • The 4,432 pedestrian fatalities in 2011 were an increase of 3 percent from 2010
  • Older pedestrians (age 65+) accounted for 19 percent (844) of all pedestrian fatalities and an estimated 10 percent (7,000) of all pedestrians injured
  • The fatality rate for older pedestrians (age 65+) was 2.04 per 100,000 population – higher than the rate for all the other ages
  • Over one-fifth (21%) of all children between the ages of 10 and 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
  • Children age 15 and younger accounted for 6 percent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2011 and 19 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes
  • Thirty-two percent of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in crashes between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
  • The highest percentage of weekday and weekend fatalities also occurred between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. (27% and 39%, respectively).

What can we do to prevent injuries and fatalities?

NHTSA offers a series of recommendations:

For Pedestrians:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk or path available, walk facing traffic (on the left side of the road) on the shoulder, as far away from traffic as possible. Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including radios, smart phones and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road environment.
  • Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not seeing you). Try to make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
  • Be predictable as a pedestrian. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Stay off of freeways, restricted-access highways and other pedestrian-prohibited roadways.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flash light at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and judgment too.

For Drivers:

  • Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Very often pedestrians are not walking where they should be.
  • Be especially vigilant for pedestrians in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
  • Slowdown and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They are stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Follow the speed limit, especially around pedestrians.
  • Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where there are children present. 

Did you know that fact sheets on other topics are available from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis?  Topics cover issues like: Alcohol-Impaired Driving, Bicyclists and Other Cyclists, Children, Large Trucks, Motorcycles, Occupant Protection, Older Population, Rural/Urban Comparisons, School Transportation-Related Crashes, Speeding, State Alcohol Estimates, State Traffic Data, and Young Drivers.

Detailed data on motor vehicle traffic crashes are published annually in Traffic Safety Facts: A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the General Estimates System.

The fact sheets and annual Traffic Safety Facts report can be accessed online at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/CATS/index.aspx.

Summer Driving

summer traffic 1Over the past twenty-five years of my safety career, I’ve seen countless videos, bulletins and articles highlighting tips and advice to drivers on coping with the savage conditions of “Winter Driving”.  Without a doubt, the winter season can bring unpredictable weather (depending on where you live and drive) ranging from snow, sleet, rain, fog, etc.  Additionally, low sun angles make dawn and dusk glare difficult to see other vehicles.

One of our clients asked — “why so little attention given to summer driving?”  It wasn’t an easy question to address initially and I wondered the same thing — why don’t we see more published about summer driving?  Most of what I’ve found on this topic deals with motorists heading out on vacation — dealing with congestion, unexpected breakdowns, overheated cars and tempers, etc.

Still, one point was inescapable — summertime deaths on the road are just as tragic, and depending on your source statistics, more numerous than in the winter.

National Safety Council, among others, have coined the term “The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer” as those days between Memorial Day (the final Monday of May in the USA) and Labor Day (First Monday in September) where road deaths are higher than any other time of the year.  In fact, it has been suggested that the sheer number of fatalities on 4th of July exceed those associated with the New Year’s holiday in January.

Contributing factors may include:

  • Increased motor vehicle activity —
    • more drivers in more vehicles on the road at the same time (i.e. adding vacationers to the “normal” levels of commuters, delivery and commercial drivers)
    • Longer days means more driving over the course of more hours
  • Vacationers heading out on long-distance trips fall victim to drowsy driving (pushing to make it further to avoid mid-trip layovers) and speed-aggravated collisions.
  • Increased congestion breeds fender-benders
  • Generally more drinking and driving by vacationers and holiday partiers
  • More late night traffic to avoid day-time congestion
  • More construction zones with merge points, little respect for construction zone speed limits (aggravating crashes at merge points)
  • Distracted driving “may” be greater due to popularity of social media (i.e. posting updates from vacation trip, checking work emails from the road at a red light, etc.)
  • Sudden rainstorms (depending on geographic location) may lead to more hydroplanning when downpours provide excessive rain that won’t drain from the roadway surface quickly.
  • Impaired driving from OTC or prescription meds for allergies, sunburns, etc.

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What can drivers do to prepare for summer driving hazards?

  • Expect Heavy Traffic:  Traffic delays on a Friday start earlier than any other day of the week, particularly when it’s sunny.  Typical delays begin at about 1pm and continue into the usual rush hour. Fender benders, lost drivers and heavy merging at on ramps can clog major roads – especially in urban centers where commuters and through traffic mix.
  • Stay Healthy:  Remember to keep hydrated but avoid any heavy meals to prevent drowsiness. Get consistent and quality rest at scheduled times. Eat a balanced diet.  Avoid adding to your stress levels.  Wear your seatbelt at all times when in your vehicle. 
  • Pack Smart: Keep a basic emergency kit stocked in the event of a breakdown. Key components may include a cell phone charger, water, snacks, necessary medications, first aid supplies and portable cooling devices, such as battery-powered fans.
  • Avoid distractions: There is no room for multi-tasking while driving because “driving is multitasking.” Driving involves a million small tasks, including watching the road, minding your speed, and being wary of other drivers. Distractions have no place in this demanding activity. Distractions don’t just mean cell phone or electronics use. Distractions can include everything from difficult passengers to talk radio programs that get you angry about social, political or religious hot topics. Keep your focus on the road — if you can’t, then pull over in a safe area for a break.
  • Slow down in rainstorms:  Hydroplaning is common in the summer with sudden downpours from thunder showers very typical in many parts of the country. You will need tires with plenty of tread depth to resist hydroplaning. So, if your current tires are nearly worn-out, get them replaced.  Increased levels of rain leave water on the road, which may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and hydroplane. The rain also erodes rock and dirt, destabilizing shoulders.
  • Don’t drive drowsy: Long drives, congestion, afternoon heat, prescription or OTC medications (for allergies, etc.), and “highway hypnosis” can all be causes of drowsiness. If your medication makes you drowsy or limits your concentration, plan your trips accordingly. It doesn’t make sense to take good care of your physical health while putting yourself and others in danger on the road. Also, if you feel yourself getting tired on the road, for whatever reason, rolling down your windows and blasting the radio is not enough. Get a drink of water, take a short nap (after finding an appropriate, safe place to park), or walk around outside of your vehicle to stimulate your body through exercise.  Many people will drive home on Sunday after a busy weekend without realizing how tired they have become. These drivers become a hazard to themselves and others on the road – watch out for vehicles unable to stay in their lane, drifting onto the shoulder, unable to maintain a consistent speed (slowing down and speeding up) – these drivers may be on the verge of falling asleep.
  • Take care of your vehicle:  Mechanical errors account for a small minority of car crashes, but it is still important to make sure that your vehicle is in good shape to avoid unexpected breakdowns.
    • Tires:
      • When roads get hot tires suffer; heat aggravates any existing problems with the rubber. Under-inflation causes friction and even more heat which will have an effect on any weak spots and causes punctures and blow-outs. Therefore, check your tire pressure regularly. Keeping your tires properly inflated can help improve gas mileage up to three percent. Be sure to check your tire pressure before you begin driving for the day. This allows you to get a cold pressure reading (the number commonly referenced in your owner’s manual).
      • One of the most common, but unexpected breakdowns is from flat tires.  If you attempt to change it yourself be very careful where you pull over. Make sure you are well away from on-coming traffic as you may not be visible if crouched down beside your wheel.
      • Tires with irregular wear or very low tread depths can contribute to problems in handling, stopping, steering and hydroplaning (skidding on top of standing rain water). Rotating tires regularly helps promote even wear and will help to spot troubles early.
    • Fluids:
      • Check your windshield wipers and wiper fluid: The combination of bad wipers and a summer downpour can leave you with no view of the road. Be sure you have plenty of wiper fluid to help keep your windshield clear of dirt and debris.
      • Change your motor oil regularly: Regular oil changes with the correct grade of motor oil can improve gas mileage up to two percent. Synthetic oils are best for high temperature driving conditions and for added protection when towing.
      • Clean your fuel system: This helps improve fuel economy and maximize engine performance by removing dirt and deposits from the fuel system.
      • Check your cooling system (radiator): It protects your engine from overheating in hot summer conditions. Follow your owner’s manual for regular maintenance.
    • Batteries: Batteries are more heavily stressed in cold AND hot weather.  Weak, older batteries may have trouble providing full charge and can crack or explode.
  • Fill the Tank: A well-fueled vehicle will keep you from being stranded with an empty tank on a hot day.
  • Increase your visibility:  Many collisions are caused by the glare on windshields caused by the sun, particularly at dawn or dusk. It’s also important to keep your windshield clean both inside and outside.  Dirt, grime and dead bug smears can obstruct your view so make sure there is plenty of fluid for your washers.  Since wiper blades last about a year so replace your wipers if necessary, both front and back (if applies).
  • Don’t overload your vehicle: Under-inflation of tires and/or overloading the vehicle will place added stress on your tires in the form of excessive heat build-up. Both of these conditions can adversely affect the vehicle’s handling and fuel economy. Visually inspect your tires. Look for abnormal signs of irregular wear around and across the tire tread area, and check the sidewalls for cuts and bulges. Irregular wear may be a sign of suspension misalignment. If you see any abnormalities in the tires, have the car and tires checked by a service professional. Don’t risk a blowout on the road, which at best can be inconvenient. At worst, it can upset handling and risk a dangerous situation.
  • Never Drink and Drive:  Hydrate with water – avoid sugary drinks and never drink alcohol before driving.

Summary

Summer driving is typically more pleasant and less stressful than winter driving since the roads are clear and (typically) dry.  However, the increased congestion and road construction present a different set of challenges.  Keep your cool, stay hydrated, be patient, plan alternate routes and make sure your vehicle is in top condition and you’ll be well on your way to a better trip than if you fail to plan ahead.  

Another traffic picSafetyFirst has prepared a full “Ten-Minute Training Topic” for this issue which include driver handouts, and presentations for your drivers.  It’s a “special edition” that is not included in our normal monthly calendar — so give us a call or email if you’d like us to send you the kit. 

SafetyFirst works with 3,800+ active clients in all SIC Divisions, and 75+ insurance providers to supply leading edge driver safety programs.