Driving a car backwards is a practiced skill!
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2008 to 2011, an average of 41% of non-occupant traffic injuries were caused by a car backing up into someone.
- The use of safe vehicle backing tips by employers and employees can help prevent accidents while on the job.
What do you do when backing up, to make sure you don’t hit something?
How do you improve your skill at backing up a vehicle?
One modern train engineer recently stated, “There are two types of train engineers—those who have hit someone on the tracks—and those who will.”
Why would he say that? Think about it for a moment, and put yourself in his place.
- Train engineers know the extreme distance it takes to bring a hulking moving train to a complete stop.
- A train going 50 miles per hour needs a mile and a half to stop.
- With that knowledge, engineers know they cannot do anything to prevent a crash in many cases.
- In a collision with a train, you are 40 times more likely to be killed than if you were in a collision with another car.
Remember these tips while driving near railroad crossings:
- Reduce speed when approaching crossings and look both ways.
- Turn down your stereo and listen for a train.
- If red lights are flashing or if crossing arms have been lowered, stop.
- Never stop on the tracks.
- Be sure ALL tracks are clear before crossing—there may be more than one set of tracks.
If you like to see store shelves full of all the things you need, then you should be grateful for all of the big trucks on the road who deliver all the stuff we like to have!
- Do you know how to drive safely around large trucks?
- What do you do now when you see a large truck in the next lane, in front of you, or behind you?
Observe the following safety tips for driving near large trucks.
- Pass Safely – Never cut in front of a truck. After you pass, make sure the entire truck appears in your rearview mirror before returning to the lane. Always leave at least four car lengths between the back of your car and the front of any large truck you pass.
- Stay out of the “No Zone” – “No Zones” are the danger areas around large trucks in which crashes are more likely to occur. Because of a truck’s size, there are four large blind spots where cars disappear from the driver’s view.
- Avoid Tailgating -A severe collision can result when a car hits the rear end of a truck. Large trucks and the trailers they pull do not have impact-absorbing bumpers. Additionally, the truck’s metal bumpers may not align with those of your car.
- Leave 20-25 car lengths between your vehicle and a truck to provide the space needed to stop safely during an emergency or traffic slow down.
- Stay Away from the Truck Driver’s Blind Spots – Following a truck too closely obscures your view of the road in front of you. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, the driver can’t see you or your vehicle.
Emergency personnel risk their lives every day to help people in a time of need. Drivers need to pay attention and respond properly when emergency vehicles approach.
- Describe what you currently do when this happens to you.
What is the proper protocol when you are driving and an emergency vehicle is approaching?
- FIRST, never drive with earphones on or music playing too loudly. You need to be able to hear emergency vehicles approach and also hear audio cues from other vehicles.
- If you see emergency lights or hear a siren, analyze if it’s safer to pull over or stay where you are.
- If the emergency vehicle is behind or ahead—and the way is clear—pull over as far as you can to the right side of the road and come to a stop. Use your turn signal to indicate where you’re moving, and keep a foot on the brake to let emergency vehicle drivers know you have stopped.
- If you are in an intersection when the emergency vehicle approaches, wait to see if the emergency vehicle needs to turn at the intersection. If the vehicle is not turning, continue through intersection and then pull over as soon as you can when it is safe to do so. Use your turn signal to indicate where you’re moving, and keep a foot on the brake to let emergency vehicle drivers know you have stopped.
- On a highway where cars are going 55-70 miles an hour, get as far over as possible and slow down to the minimum speed.
Is taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication as dangerous as drinking alcohol combined with driving?
- Safe driving requires precise skills, clear judgment, concentration, and ability to react to what happens on the road.
- Drugs affect all of these skills, and not just illegal drugs. Prescription drugs and even over the counter medicines can affect your driving skills if you don’t follow instructions or your doctor’s advice.
- Taking drugs of any kind and then driving puts you at greater risk of injuring or killing yourself, your friends or other innocent people.
- Not taking your medication correctly can also be of concern. EXAMPLE: Diabetics can have sudden bouts of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, which leads to confusion, delayed reaction, visual disturbances or loss of consciousness.
When taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before driving.
Visit fda.gov for more information on Medications and Driving.
If you’ve ever been out with colleagues after work, or to a party or wedding or other event where alcohol is served, you may have been in a situation where you tried to stop an impaired person from getting behind the wheel.
What did you do? Did it work?
In the situation where a colleague might be impaired and inclined to drive, do your best to keep that person from getting behind the wheel. Try these things:
- Drive him or her yourself (only if you have not been drinking).
- Call a cab (or Uber or Lyft).
- Spend the night and leave in the morning.
- Call a sober friend or family member to take them home.
- Plan ahead if you and colleagues/friends plan to drink. Designate a sober driver beforehand, plan to call a cab or someone you trust to pick you up, or plan to spend the night where you are.
Many of us are in jobs where our shifts rotate from day to night, or where we work second or third shift regularly.
- What strategies can you use to drive safety to and from work if you’re a shift worker?
You can take effective steps to reduce your risks.
- Make it a priority to get good sleep by creating a quiet, cool, dark environment, allowing sufficient time for sleep, and trying to sleep during the same hours each day.
- Another strategy is to avoid driving home from work while sleepy. Get a ride from a family member, take a cab.
- Nap before heading home.
- Consume caffeine equivalent to two cups of coffee to help improve alertness for a short period.