Charge Your Batteries
When daylight saving time ends and we fall back one hour in November, many rejoice because they get an extra hour of sleep, if only for one night. But this sudden change can raise transportation safety issues that can linger on for a much longer time period.
More people will be driving to and from work in the dark. Vision can be impacted, and driving habits may need to be altered. During Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Nov. 7-14, you can help ease this transition at your location by providing education and training around driving in the dark and sleep health.
Drowsy-driving crashes often are the result of:
- Sleep deprivation (adults need seven to nine hours of sleep to reach peak performance levels)
- The repetition of a monotonous commute, also known as time-on-task fatigue
- Use of prescription medications
- Untreated sleep disorders like sleep apnea, medical conditions and nutritional deficiencies
- Consumption of alcohol or other drugs
Now is the time to reconnect with workers:
- Be open to new ideas to manage shift work and employee schedules
- Discuss sleep disorder screenings and treatment plans
- Distribute educational materials to address sleep behavior and share this sleep habits assessment
- Implement journey management plans to help employees plan for rest times
The goal is to keep everyone safe, whether driving on the job or with the family. Let us help. Make use of these free resources to create a week-long safety campaign:
- Monday poster (print and display): Not Your Dream Car
- Tuesday safety talk: Understand the warning signs of being too tired to drive
- Wednesday e-learning: We offer five driver behavior modules, including one on drowsy driving, that you can use to build a comprehensive safety course and reward workers with a certificate of completion if they pass the final quiz
- Thursday driving safety games: Play Night Owl to engage workers and have some fun, too
- Friday Safety Coach cards: These cards feature talking points and questions with suggested answers
In Texas, more than 7,500 crashes last year involved drivers who were fatigued or asleep at the wheel, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Driving in darkness is a way of life for many. Drowsy driving can be avoided. This fall, treat road safety like that new hybrid vehicle you have your eye on. Plug in and get fully charged.
Forward Thinking on Backing Safety
One mile measures 5,280 feet. You might walk that far every day as part of an exercise routine. You probably don’t travel that far driving in reverse over the course of an entire year. Yet, even though drivers spend about 99% of their time behind the wheel moving forward, backing-up incidents account for about 25% of all traffic collisions.
These incidents typically occur in parking lots, driveways and on job sites.
So, what can you do to protect your workers and your organization from injuries and costs associated with these crashes? Get answers during our next free online training session. Our Driving Concern Program Manager DeAnn Crane and City of Waco Safety Coordinator Berry Bairrington will offer ideas to help drivers identify blind spots and back up safely. Take what you learn back to your location. Register to attend now:
- Wednesday, Nov. 17 (10-10:30 a.m.): Backing Up Safely – What Every Driver Should Know
Establish backing up procedures for fleet drivers and those operating heavy equipment. Review flagger and spotter requirements. Share these basic safety tips in common areas at your workplace and on your intranet safety page to help raise awareness of safety risks:
- Recognize your driving blind spots and those of others sharing the road, especially large trucks, and do not linger when passing other vehicles; you could get lost in a blind spot
- Use turn signals before changing lanes to alert other drivers of your intentions
- Do a 360-degree walk-around before backing and check for low-lying objects
- Adjust your rearview mirror and your side mirrors before departing so they cover wide areas and help you more easily see other vehicles
- Look over your shoulder before backing, and look out the side windows to check for vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists and other road users
- Keep windows clean and your field of vision clear; do not put anything on the dashboard that might obstruct your view
Today’s vehicles come with safety features that can assist drivers. Use free tools from the National Safety Council and MyCarDoesWhat to demonstrate how cameras and sensors can help drivers avoid collisions. Emphasize that these features are meant to assist drivers, not replace them.
- Back-up cameras: Review how they work and share this video guide during a team meeting
- Back-up warning: Discuss how these sensors scan for objects and can trigger safety alerts
- Blind spot warning: Learn how to spot hidden danger
- Side-view camera: Get an expanded view of the lane beside you
Last year, 8,454 crashes in Texas involved drivers who “backed without safety,” according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That’s about 23 crashes every day. Move forward now with backing up safety plans. Please join us for free online training.