Great West Casualty Company Blog

Subscribe to our Blog

Mirror Use: A Key to Safe Driving

Mirrors are an essential piece of safety equipment. A skilled driver knows how to use mirrors to help manage the space around the truck and avoid crashes while changing lanes, backing, turning, and during startups. Are there actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a crash by using your truck’s mirrors more effectively? Read the information below. 
Read More

Technology and Coaching: A Proven Combination to Change Driver Behavior

In today’s trucking environment, where high-dollar litigation has become the norm, driver managers are tasked with an ever-increasing burden to ensure drivers conduct themselves in a safe manner. This is quite challenging since drivers are out of sight most of the time, but technology is catching up to the trucking industry, and motor carriers should be happy about that. Sitting drivers down in front of safety videos is one of the least effective ways to change their behavior. For adults, it is best to show them their performance gaps (i.e., bad fuel economy, moving violations, etc.) and help them find solutions on their own. A proven way to do this is to combine technology and coaching.
Read More

Talent Metrics Every Motor Carrier Should Track

Motor carriers use the word talent to refer to employees, but this reference can include all employees or a select group (i.e., high performers), depending on who you’re talking to. One thing carriers can agree on is that mismanaging talent can have the same negative impact on the company’s bottom line as a crash or injury can have. For this reason, trucking companies should be managing their talent the way they manage their risks: using metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). To gauge how well the company is managing its workers, an employer can use these talent metrics to measure its performance.
Read More

Avoiding the Right Turn Squeeze

A right-turn squeeze crash can occur when a truck driver swings out into the left lane to make more room for a sharp, right-hand turn. In doing so, the truck driver leaves too much space between the truck and the curb. A driver behind the truck can mistake this maneuver as the truck changing lanes, and accelerate into the open lane even if the truck’s turn signal is flashing. As soon as the truck makes its sharp, right-hand turn, the trailing vehicle gets squeezed under the trailer or impacts the side of the truck. This type of crash can be prevented if truck drivers are able to recognize the hazards that increase the risk of a crash and take defensive measures to prevent it from happening. Read the information below and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a right-turn squeeze crash.
Read More

Tips for Flatbed Trailer Safety

Flatbed trailers pose a significant number of hazards to drivers, and those hazards can lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Read the information below about flatbed trailer safety and the recommended injury prevention techniques, and then ask yourself how you can better protect yourself from harm.
Read More

Fatigue, slick roads, sun glare among fall road hazards

The start of school is here, and so are the seasonal hazards that increase the risk of truck crashes. Dispatchers, driver managers, and safety personnel should be communicating these hazards to drivers regularly during the fall months. Please take time to review the list of hazards below, and complete the “Call to Action” items to help reduce the risk of crashes.
Read More

Ask The Risk Manager

WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY COMPANY FROM IDENTITY THEFT? Great question! This issue recently came up when a motor carrier was contacted by a third-party administrator (TPA) who was requesting unlimited access to the motor carrier’s intranet so it could file, process, and handle claims. Specifically, the TPA requested the motor carrier’s website login and password information to obtain information and documentation for a claim. This raised a red flag with the motor carrier, rightfully so. Before granting access to sensitive company data or agreeing to do business with anyone, you need to take steps to protect your identity from cyber criminals and other thieves to ensure the brokers, carriers, shippers, and receivers you do business with are legitimate. There are many ways criminals can steal a person’s or company’s identity. Below are common theft methods and ideas to help defend your company from identity theft.
Read More

Test Time: Top 10 Road Test Tips

 
Read More

The Essential 7 Driving Techniques

Truck drivers were asked to identify the driving skills they felt were most effective in preventing crashes. They agreed on the Essential 7 Driving Techniques. Read the information below and ask yourself how you can improve your driving style using these techniques. AVOID DISTRACTIONS Distracted driving involves any activity (including illness and fatigue) that diverts your attention away from driving. BEST PRACTICES: While driving, do not use mobile devices, eat or drink, daydream, etc. Make quick glances to mirrors. Get plenty of rest. If driving, avoid medications that can cause drowsiness. OBSERVE PROPER SPEED FOR CONDITIONS Adjust your speed based on the environment, such as traffic volume, snow, rain, road construction, etc. BEST PRACTICES: Reduce speed by at least 2-3 mph below the flow of traffic, not to exceed the posted speed limit. If conditions are unsafe to drive in, pull over until it is safe to continue. MAINTAIN PROPER FOLLOWING DISTANCE  Trucks need more distance to stop than passenger vehicles need. Creating more space between the truck and vehicles ahead gives you more time to perceive and react to hazards. BEST PRACTICES: Keep a minimum of six seconds behind the vehicle ahead and add one second more for each additional hazard present. BE ATTENTIVE TO THE ROAD AHEAD Traffic ahead can slow or stop abruptly; or a hazard may present itself unexpectedly, like a deer running across the road, requiring you to react suddenly. BEST PRACTICES: Be prepared to stop suddenly. Watch for traffic slowing or stopping ahead, then get off the accelerator immediately and apply controlled braking. REACT PROPERLY TO HAZARDS Each hazard you encounter is unique, and the proper reaction can range from adjusting your speed and increasing following distance to pulling over until it is safe to continue driving. BEST PRACTICES: A proper reaction to a hazard shouldn’t put other drivers at risk. Be alert. Recognize the hazard. Know the defense. YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY Forcing your vehicle into another driver’s lane, blocking oncoming traffic, or preventing merging traffic from entering are examples of failing to yield the right of way. BEST PRACTICES: Remember to drive defensively. Even if you have the right of way, yielding to other drivers may be necessary to prevent a crash. MAINTAIN ONE LANE Avoid frequent lane changes and stay in one lane as much as possible. BEST PRACTICES: Before changing lanes, make sure it is safe and legal to do so. Use the mirrors and “Lean and Look” method to ensure the adjacent lane is clear, activate the turn signal, and then move over gradually.   Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive. The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.  © Great West Casualty Company 2019. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2019. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.” This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.
Read More

Use Positive Spillover to Improve Safety Performance

Have you ever noticed how people are influenced by those around them? Think of a neighborhood where one homeowner works very hard to keep his/her yard perfectly manicured. When neighbors see this meticulous attention to detail, they tend to raise their games and follow suit by taking better care of their properties. Before you know it, the entire neighborhood looks gorgeous and becomes a center of pride for everyone. One homeowner’s efforts had a positive spillover effect on his/her neighbors. In a service-oriented industry like transportation, think of how a top performer can improve customer service by bringing out the best in others. For example, one of the benefits of a small-sized trucking company is its sense of family. This closeness comes from ownership/management’s ability to have daily contact with all employees to the point where managers know the names of employees, their spouses, and children. Actively engaging employees to this degree, sharing an enthusiasm for the company, and most importantly, helping employees see they are valuable contributors to the company’s success can have a positive spillover effect. By taking pride in themselves and the company, employees become better advocates for the company’s products and services and ultimately strive to provide better customer service. From a safety standpoint, consider how management’s commitment to safety can create positive spillover and improve employee safety performance. When management leads by example and establishes high expectations, employees will be more apt to emulate this behavior and be more inclined to participate in organized safety activities. With improved safety performance, the organization will benefit in the following ways: • Fewer losses • Increased productivity • Improved morale • Lower turnover • Better communication • Lower workers’ compensation insurance costs                                                                                    • Reduced medical expenses • Decreased roadside violations • Increased customer service Improving safety performance through positive spillover is relatively inexpensive. It may cost nothing at all and require only minor operational adjustments. For example, selecting a safety-minded high-performer to conduct road tests or to mentor new drivers can have a positive spillover effect. Not only do new hires learn immediately what the company expects relative to safety performance, but also the personal interaction with someone exhibiting these characteristics creates a positive and lasting impression. Conversely, toxic employees are experts in creating negative spillover. Do not allow these personality types to monopolize discussions during safety meetings. Instead, intentionally involve top performers in the discussion from the start, and encourage new employees to participate so they feel their views are valid and a welcome contribution. CALL TO ACTION Identify safety-minded high-performers and keep them engaged by involving them in special projects. Recognize high-performers for their contributions to safety in group settings with their peers. Establish a driver mentoring program where top performers can influence new hires. Select a top-performing, safety-conscious driver to conduct road test evaluations.   Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive. The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.  © Great West Casualty Company 2019. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2019. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.” This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.
Read More