Rear-end crashes typically result in severe losses and can be catastrophic for everyone involved. Preventing rear-end crashes requires drivers to recognize the hazards that increase the odds of a crash, know the defense, and to react properly. Read the information below, and ask yourself how you can improve your vigilance and driving style.
RECOGNIZE THE HAZARDS
Both wet and dry road conditions can affect traction and the vehicle’s stopping distance. Likewise, sun glare, fog, and other environmental factors can be distracting and reduce visibility, thus affecting perception and reaction times.
Insufficient tread depth on tires or out-of-adjustment brakes can reduce a driver’s ability to stop the truck safely. An empty or lightly-laden trailer may make stopping a tractor-trailer more difficult.
Distracted driving, speeding, driving too fast for conditions, and tailgating are unsafe driving behaviors that increase the risk of a rear-end crash. Driving while ill, fatigued, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also affect one’s ability to perceive hazards and react in time.
KNOW THE DEFENSE
Check tires for sufficient tread depth and ensure brakes are properly adjusted. If hauling an empty or lightly-laden trailer, factor the lack of trailer weight into your following distance so you can stop the truck in time.
Focus on the task of driving, and avoid distractions inside and outside the cab. Talking or texting on the phone and eating or drinking while driving divert your attention away from hazards in front of you.
OBSERVE PROPER SPEED FOR CONDITIONS
Reduce speed by at least 2-3 mph below the flow of traffic, not to exceed the posted speed limit. Adjust your speed based on the hazards present, including construction and school zones.
MAINTAIN PROPER FOLLOWING DISTANCE
Keep a minimum of six seconds behind the vehicle in front, and add at least one second more for each additional hazard present, like rain, sun glare, or traffic congestion.
BE ATTENTIVE TO THE ROAD AHEAD
Watch for traffic slowing or stopping ahead, then get off the accelerator and apply controlled braking. Perceiving hazards sooner allows more time to react.
REACT PROPERLY TO HAZARDS
When traffic ahead stops, try to stay in one lane and avoid abrupt lane changes. If you feel fatigued or distracted, pull over and rest or resolve any issues so you can return your focus to driving.
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.