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June 2017 Safety Coach: Share Lisa’s Real-Life Experience as Way to Talk Technology

Safety Coach

Vehicle safety features are really important. Many of us tend to look at technology – and advanced driver assistance systems – with a bit of nervous trepidation. There is a learning curve that comes with all new gadgets. And what if you can’t remember what safety features are on your car or truck?

Typically, when you buy a vehicle, the salesperson will walk you through all the features and demonstrate how they work. All well and good, right? What happens a day or two later when you don’t remember what you learned?

I can tell you my car has many features that I have not fully explored yet. In fact, I will tell on myself.

The salesman was going through all of the features with me, including automatic parallel parking. Maybe it is a control thing, but it scared me to death when he showed me how the car could parallel park for me, yes, right there between two other cars. I may or may not have screamed a little.

I took my hands off the wheel but still was operating the gas and brake pedals. Know this: I typically avoid parallel parking.

So, for me, I will go back to the dealership and get a few more “lessons” on what my car does and how to utilize all of the safety features. It is also handy to find online video tutorials. Technology is great – so long as you know how to use it.

The takeaway from my experience is an important one you can pass along to your employees. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, mind focused on the task at hand – driving – remain the staples of safe driving. While the basics have not changed all that much over the years, the tools available now to assist drivers are fast-evolving.

Yes, your car can park itself and potentially cut down on incidents that impact your organization’s bottom line. However, if you do not know how to use the feature, it is of no benefit. Driver error is a contributing factor in about 94% of crashes. Employers pay for crashes whether they occur on or off the job. The most typical errors include:

  • Missing road hazards or detecting them too slowly
  • Choosing the incorrect defensive driving action
  • Driving in a distracted or altered state, such as having inadequate sleep, being distracted by a phone or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Striking fixed objects

Some errors today result from a lack of education on advanced driver assistance systems, including automatic parallel parking. This vehicle safety feature helps guide you into a parallel parking spot, can help you search and find an open space and will be of particular interest to those living and working in city environments.

A visit to MyCarDoesWhat will net you tips for using automatic parallel parking, including a few you will want to share at your workplace:

  • Remember that you are responsible for braking when using automatic parallel parking; you can override the automatic parallel parking maneuver by grabbing the steering wheel
  • Stay aware of your surroundings while parking, paying special attention to people or objects that may enter the parking path
  • If possible, practice using this feature at your dealership under the guidance of a customer representative

Automatic parallel parking technology works like this: Advanced sensors read gaps between cars in the area where you want to park. The feature won’t activate unless there is room to parallel park, which helps ensure your vehicle won’t bump into any nearby cars. When activated, automatic parallel parking can take over the steering functions needed to park.

Watch: Automatic Parallel Parking (animated quick guide)

Tailgate Talk

Taking Vehicle Safety Features for a Spin Around the Block

What other advanced driver assistance systems might you want to focus on during your next Tailgate Talk? Three that make dollars and sense as described by MyCarDoesWhat:

  • Automatic emergency braking: Feature designed to slow a vehicle down or bring it to a complete stop if you are about to crash into a car or truck in front of you
  • Lane departure warning: System alerts you if you are drifting out of your lane, using visual, vibration and sound warnings
  • Hill descent assist: System helps keep you at a steady speed when driving down an incline

You may be new to some of these safety features, like I was the first time I attempted to use automatic parallel parking in my new vehicle. Or you may have taken the latest safety features for a spin around the block. What about your employees?

Some vehicle safety systems are mandated by the federal government, including electronic stability control on large commercial trucks. Other systems are not mandated – but still worth investing in because of the safety impact demonstrated in data already collected. In a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, fleets without lane departure warning installed on their vehicles experienced 1.917 more lane-change related crashes than fleets with lane departure warning.

Crashes cost money. Employers spend more than $47 billion annually on crashes, according to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety. When calculating crash costs, NETS takes into account items such as medical care, liability, lost productivity and property damage. There is no way to calculate the cost of a human life.

Employers are impacted by driver behavior. The best way to address driver behavior is through education and training.

Watch: No Charge to Invest in Our Traffic Safety Program