January 2021 Safety Coach: Those Are Just Flakes of Confetti!

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Safety Coach
Cream of the Crop

Positively acknowledging driver behavior is a good motivational tool. At U.S. Infrastructure’s Keller, Texas, location, drivers receive a safety scorecard on a weekly basis. Telematics data is used to track hard-braking and acceleration events. Teams compete for prizes that reward safe driving behaviors.

The result of this innovative effort led to an 82% reduction in at-fault vehicle incident rates in 2019, a savings of $484,000 in claims costs and 300 hours of downtime to deal with vehicle repairs. USIC was one 12 employers singled out for recognition through the 2020 Our Driving Concern Texas Employer Traffic Safety awards program. Six others earned honorable mention distinction.

We’ve learned employee safety is a common denominator that links all of these organizations. All of them partner with Our Driving Concern, and take advantage of free training opportunities and free resources to promote road safety. And, all of them are able to document their success:

  • At San Antonio-based Northside ISD, the fourth-largest school district in Texas, driver training and a thorough review of performance led to a 66% reduction in the severity of transportation collisions
  • The City of Austin Public Works Department experienced a 29.7% reduction in collisions following the implementation of employee defensive-driver training
  • The Texas Mutual Insurance Company experienced a 61% decrease in preventable crashes; its overall safe-driving score climbed from 90 to 94.5 after it started using in-vehicle monitoring to ensure employees were modeling the safe-driving solutions they share with policyholders

We’d like to invite you to share your success stories, too. Apply now for 2021 Our Driving Concern traffic safety awards recognition. The deadline to submit an online application is Feb. 21, 2021. To assist you in the process:

We believe in celebrating safety. We believe the workplace is a natural setting to talk about road safety. By developing company polices, providing education and offering incentives, employers can save money and save lives. We’ve tracked the results since we first started presenting these awards in 2014.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

Tailgate Talk
10 Winter Driving Safety Tips

Through mid-January, a number of cities in Texas have recorded higher snowfall totals than cities in northern states. Not only is this rare, but it is worth noting because cities and states in the south do not have the same equipment and resources (snowplows, salt piles) to remove snow and ice from streets as their northern counterparts.

I bring this up because this is the time – and the year – for you to provide employees with a winter driving safety checklist. Whether they drive as a regular part of their job or merely commute to and from the office, they will be more prepared to drive safely in various road conditions if they are prepared.

Here are 10 tips to include on your safety checklist. Share them one at a time in e-blasts, feature them in the safety section of your company newsletter or post them on your intranet site:

  1. Slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter conditions. Slippery roads can be treacherous. Avoid harsh acceleration and sudden stops, particularly in and around intersections. Drive to conditions.
  2. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility and make yourself more easily seen.
  3. Increase following distance and stopping distance. Your vehicle will take longer to stop on wet, snowy or icy roads. Loss of traction can cause skidding and loss of vehicle control.
  4. Keep your gas tank full. Allow greater time to reach your destination. On longer trips, plan for regular stops to check phone and text messages. Change drivers to avoid fatigue.
  5. Use extra caution on bridges, ramps and overpasses. These areas tend to freeze first.
  6. Watch for trucks plowing snow, and give them room to do their work. These vehicles tend to travel slowly, make wide turns and overlap lanes. They also can spray snow into the air and create momentary blind spots.
  7. Stock your vehicle with supplies to deal with changing conditions. Include a snow shovel, broom, ice scraper, jumper cables, blanket, water, non-perishable dry food snacks and warning devices such as flares or orange cones.
  8. Check your vehicle battery, fluids, lights and windshield wipers. Be sure to replace worn wipers regularly.
  9. Always wear your seat belt. Before departing, silence your phone, set your GPS device and pick a music playlist or radio station to avoid distraction. Never drive while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
  10. Stay with your car in an emergency (stalled traffic in winter weather, etc.). Be sure coworkers, friends and/or relatives know your travel plans and your travel route. When you’re stopped and it’s safe, notify contacts of your situation or call 911.

Share this video from the National Safety Council during a team meeting to launch your winter driving safety initiative: Love it or Hate it – Winter is Here!

Get more ideas from NSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Stay safe out there!