Control Three Major Culprits of Vehicle Accidents

November 27, 2019

When drivers get behind the wheel, they take responsibility for maintaining control of 2-ton machines that can easily cover a distance of more than 80 feet in one second. Unsafe traveling speeds, distracted driving and driver fatigue and are three of the biggest culprits of unnecessary vehicle-related accidents and fatalities.

Speed Kills

The No. 1 cause of injury and death in highway construction zones is speeding traffic. Each year, thousands of road construction workers are injured or killed at work due to motor vehicle accidents. When driving through construction sites:

  • Stay alert and slow down!
  • Plan ahead and drive an alternative route when possible.
  • Watch for road signs that indicate reduced speeds, traffic shifts, etc.
  • Increase the distance between the vehicles in front of you.
  • Turn on your headlights.
  • Stay in your lane.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving – anything from eating and drinking to texting and making phone calls – can result in costly consequences to employers with workers who drive on the job. Employers should address driving distractions of any form through awareness, training and a formal company policy, whether driving is a full-time requirement with a company vehicle, or an isolated occurrence in a personal vehicle.

Driver Fatigue

According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers – about 168 million people – reported driving while drowsy in a year’s time, and nearly 40% reported actually falling asleep behind the wheel. The best form of prevention is getting enough sleep and recognizing signs of driver fatigue.

Drivers should stop and rest if they experience warning signs, such as:

  • The inability to recall the last few miles traveled.
  • Having disconnected or wandering thoughts.
  • Having difficulty focusing or keeping eyes open.
  • Drifting out of the lane or driving on the rumble strips.
  • Accidentally tailgating other vehicles.
  • Missing traffic signs.

Safety Considerations for Employers

To ensure your workers don’t become part of a statistic and that they stay safe on the road, follow these helpful tips:

  • Ensure that drivers who drive on your company’s behalf have a valid driver’s license.
  • Review your drivers’ motor vehicle records at least annually for serious or excessive violations.
  • Develop and implement a preventative maintenance schedule for each company vehicle.
  • Encourage drivers to report vehicle performance issues.
  • Mandate use of seat belts.
  • Implement a formal policy around distracted driving.
  • Conduct regular safety meetings on fleet safety.
  • Evaluate driver performance via ride-alongs or How’s My Driving reporting service.

For more information about defensive driving, visit our Loss Control Toolbox, or download our defensive driving tip sheet.

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