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November 2018 Safety Coach: Costly Toll of Crashes — Bah Humbug!

Safety Coach
5 Tips for Safe Driving on Rural Roads

While there were nearly four times as many urban crashes as rural crashes in Texas last year, more people were killed on state roads in rural crashes. One reason: Trauma centers are not as easy to access.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2017 there were:

  • 130,770 crashes and 1,950 fatalities in rural areas
  • 407,200 crashes and 1,771 fatalities in urban areas

During December, many of your employees will travel from big-city centers to rural areas on their way to holiday gatherings. Share these 5 Tips for Safe Rural Driving from our friends at the Texas Department of Insurance:

  • Slow down: Speed limits tend to be higher in rural areas and this increases fatal crash risk
  • Stay alert: Be on the lookout for poor road surfaces, which can cause dangers such as loss of traction
  • Keep an eye on your lane: Rural roads can be narrower and have sharp curves, dips or spots where pavement cuts out
  • Watch for obstacles: You never know what you might encounter on rural roads, including animals, fallen trees and slow-moving machinery
  • Prepare for emergencies: Because it can be easy to get lost in rural locations, make use of a navigation system, keep your fuel tank topped off and carry a vehicle emergency kit

Consumer Reports published a list of items to include in a winter emergency kit, including:

  • Battery booster cables
  • Blankets and gloves
  • Water and long-lasting food
  • Items for handling a flat tire

In a blog post, National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah Hersman poses this question: “Would you be ready to save a life?” She goes on to say carrying a simple tourniquet or Stop the Bleed Kit could make the difference between life and death if you come upon a crash – a very real possibility when traveling through rural areas.

Prepare your employees for those trips to grandma’s house. Dig into our free resources to assist you in delivering transportation safety messages at your workplace, including our Safety Huddle talking sheets. One to make use of at this time of year: Holiday Driving, a lesson intended to last 2-5 minutes.

Tailgate Talk
Explain Today’s Vehicle Safety Features and Avoid Misuse

In a report conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 30% of vehicle owners with blind spot monitoring systems said they sometimes rely on these systems to the point of changing lanes without visually checking their blind spot. AAA also found 25% of drivers with rear cross-traffic alert systems said they sometimes back up without looking over their shoulder.

Advanced driver assistance systems are meant to assist drivers, not replace them.

The AAA report highlights the crash mitigation potential of advanced driver assistance systems in today’s vehicles but also identifies hindrances to realizing that potential:

  • Consumer trust
  • Education
  • Misuse

AAA found two out of three vehicle owners trust today’s driver assistance systems, but their driving behaviors show a lack of understanding when it comes to how the technology works.

For example, 33% of drivers with automatic emergency braking systems did not know the systems rely on cameras or sensors that can become blocked by dirt, ice or snow. Whether you are talking to fleet drivers or employees commuting to and from work, take time to explain these features.

Use these tools from our friends at MyCarDoesWhat to help:

  • Automatic emergency braking: Sensors track vehicles ahead and automatically slam on the brakes. This feature cannot always prevent a rear-end collision, but it can reduce the severity of impact. Watch: Quick guide.
  • Blind spot monitoring: Systems use a symbol, sound or vibration to let the driver know there is a car or truck in his blind spot. Watch: Quick guide.
  • Back-up camera: These cameras show a wide view behind your vehicle while you are in reverse, even at night. The view may not be clear if is the lens is obscured by direct sunlight or dirt. Watch: Quick guide.

With today’s driver assistance systems, it is important to remind drivers not to rely solely on technology. Always look over your shoulder and in your mirrors as you back up to avoid hitting a child or low-lying object.

Remember: You are still your vehicle’s most important safety feature.