Summer is here, and a new set of driving hazards is sure to raise a driver’s stress level as fast as the temperature gets warmer. Operations personnel are likely to be the only friendly voice a driver hears during the day. This makes dispatchers, driver managers, and safety personnel important advocates for drivers as well as champions of the company’s safety message. Below is a short list of summer driving hazards. Share this information with drivers and complete the “Call to Action” tasks.
Distractions inside and outside the cab reduce a driver’s ability to perceive hazards and react properly. Talking or texting on the phone while driving – including calls initiated by the company – is not unique to summer, but is a hazard that deserves to be reiterated to all drivers throughout the year. Sun glare can be a distraction, so encourage drivers to wear polarized sunglasses and avoid driving in peak periods when sun glare is at its worst. Likewise, high temperatures increase the risk of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. Headaches, dizziness, and heat exhaustion can distract a driver and divert his or her attention away from the task of driving. Remind drivers to stay hydrated and wear clothing that provides UV protection and is lightweight to stay cool.
INCREASED TRAFFIC AND CONGESTION
Summer traffic will see an increase in vacationers, inexperienced teen drivers, motorcyclists, and farm equipment on the roads. Likewise, joggers, bicyclists, and walkers create street crossing dangers. Remind drivers to be attentive to their surroundings and scan the road ahead for potential hazards.
Warmer temperatures kick off the road construction season. There will be lane closures, shifting lanes, workers present, and construction equipment moving in and out of traffic. Explain to drivers the importance of anticipating hazards and moving into the proper lane as soon as possible. Remind them to slow down in work zones, yield the right of way, and obey work zone speed limits. Delays are inevitable, but crashes are intolerable. If a driver runs into unexpected delays, advocate for him or her by calling the receiver to report the situation so the driver does not have to worry about it.
Summer weather can change on a dime and go from sunny and bright skies to menacing clouds, threatening tornados, hail, and heavy rain. Remind drivers to bring emergency supplies on each trip. Operations staff can also help drivers by monitoring weather forecasts and alerting them of adverse weather ahead, or better yet, reroute them away from potentially hazardous conditions. If drivers get caught up in a storm, encourage them to get off the road and seek shelter if they feel the conditions are unsafe to drive in.
CALL TO ACTION
Establish a call-in schedule to prohibit non-driving employees from calling and distracting drivers while driving or resting.
Remind drivers to be mindful of increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic and to slow down.
Instruct staff to inform shippers, receivers, and brokers when a driver will be late due to unexpected delays.
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.