Safe driving should be top of mind while out on the road. Many drivers are distracted which means you need to be more vigilant and aware. Safety is a top priority here at CentiMark and we want our associates to be safe driving to the office, job site, and on their way home after the workday has ended. The following is a short list of things that drivers can be aware of and take action on to encourage a safe driving experience.
Before a driver even starts his or her trip, they should perform a quick inspection of their vehicle to ensure safety on the highway. One tip is to check all of the vehicle’s tires to ensure they are properly inflated. Once proper inflation is identified, the driver should then check to make sure there is an adequate amount of tread on each tire. This is especially important during winter weather months. Additionally, if there is any work equipment or personal belongings attached to the outside of the vehicle, the driver should ensure that these items are securely fastened down.
Truck/Towing Pre-trip Setup
If a trailer is being towed, there are safety precautions that should be followed. First, the correct hitch receiver must be used. In order to choose the correct hitch receiver, you need “the gross trailer weight and the maximum tongue weight,” says Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics. Once the correct hitch receiver is chosen, it is then time to select an appropriate hitch ball. Hitch balls come in three distinct sizes, “17/8 inches, 2 inches and 25/16 inches,” indicates Mike Allen. The larger the ball, the more weight it can support. After choosing the proper hitch receiver and ball, proper set up is critical. The tongue weight needs to be set up, which should be set at “10 to 12 percent of total trailer weight,” according to Mike Allen.
Furthermore, the height of the hitch needs to be set up so that the trailer is level to the ground when it is attached to the vehicle. Pertaining to the setup of the trailer, the chains must be crossed when attached to the truck. The wiring harness needs to be installed so that all of the safety lights function correctly. The driver is responsible for checking to see if the trailer’s turn signals and brake lights work. Proper setup of the truck and trailer will allow for a safe trip on the highway.
Vehicle in Motion
Eliminate Distracted Driving
While a driver’s vehicle is in motion, one of the most useful tips is to eliminate distracted driving. This means the driver should not be on his/her phone catching up on the latest news, engaging in text message conversations or scrolling through their favorite social media news feed. According to the United States Department of Transportation, “Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,166 lives in 2017 alone.” This statistic does not account for the thousands of injuries that people experience because of an accident related to distracted driving. Many states across the nation have passed, or are passing, 100% hands free laws. Fines apply if phones are in the driver’s hands. Hands free devices should be purchased to be in compliance, or ahead of, the law.
Maintain A Safe Following Distance
Another key safety tip is to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains, “you should leave at least three seconds between you and the car or motorcycle in front of you.” This allows you enough time to slow down or stop if the car in front of you suddenly hits their brakes. Avoiding tailgating helps reduce fender benders that put people’s lives at risk.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Additionally, always wear your seatbelt. There are mandatory seat belt laws across the United States, however some people still refuse to wear a seatbelt. It has been found that “one in seven people do not wear a seat belt when driving,” according to Driver Knowledge’s website. Their statistics show that just by wearing a seatbelt, it reduces the chances of serious injury by “50%.” Something as simple as wearing a seatbelt could be the difference between life and death.
Just by being an alert driver and obeying all traffic signs and lights can prevent an accident. One must not only be alert towards their own driving, but they must also pay attention to other drivers on the road. For example, do not assume another driver is going to stop at a red light. You must be alert and ready to react in case a driver does not obey road signs or lights.
By following these safe driving tips, it will lead to safer travel for everybody on the road. Performing a pre-trip inspection is a great way to avoid a possible accident before even reaching the road. When the vehicle is in motion, it is critical to eliminate distracted driving, maintain a safe following distance, wear a seatbelt and always be alert. These simple driving tips will assist in promoting a safe drive for everybody on the road.
About National Safety Stand Down 2019
The National Safety Stand Down is organized by the Department of Labor to prevent falls in construction and accidents. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 366 of the 971 construction fatalities recorded in 2017 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.
Blog contributed by Thad Paunovich, Fleet/DOT Administration, CentiMark Corporation, Canonsburg, PA, April 2019