It cannot be overstated: a motor carrier’s operations staff is essential to preventing vehicle crashes. Dispatchers, driver managers, load planners, and safety personnel all play critical roles because they have the most contact with drivers. This gives them a unique opportunity to regularly raise hazard awareness with drivers and keep safety in the forefront of their minds.
With summer upon us, operations staff should refresh their knowledge of the seasonal hazards that come with this time of year and remind drivers of them as well. Below is a list of common summertime hazards. Read the list and complete the “Call to Action” recommendations.
Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and Motorcyclists
Summer is the time for vacations and outdoor activities. Truck drivers will experience increased traffic from pedestrians and bicyclists. Whether driving in an urban setting or out on a country road, walkers, joggers, and bicyclists will be out in full. Remind drivers to share the road and be attentive to their surroundings. If drivers are in unfamiliar territory, coach them to avoid distractions so their attention remains focused on the road ahead. Also, coach them to make only quick glances to GPS devices and mirrors, and then refocus on the road.
Tornados, high winds, heavy rain, hail, and other adverse weather conditions are common summertime hazards depending on your location. Operations staff can help drivers by monitoring forecasts and routing them away from storm areas. Also, if a driver deems it too unsafe to drive, respect that decision and encourage him or her to pull over in a safe place to wait out the storm.
Summer is also known as orange barrel and cone season. Road construction is inevitable, but the driver’s stress can be relieved with the help of a thoughtful dispatcher. Routing a driver away from construction zones, especially during rush hour, can alleviate the stress that could lead to anxiety, aggressive driving, and road rage. Likewise, when unexpected traffic delays occur, the dispatcher can ease the driver’s mind by calling the consignee to inform him or her of the situation. Do not make a difficult situation worse by compounding the problem.
Traffic congestion will increase with more vacationers, farmers, and motorcyclists out on the road. Remind drivers to use their mirrors wisely and manage the space around the truck. Stay in one lane as much as possible and avoid sudden lane changes. Also, slow down in heavier traffic and maintain a proper following distance.
Call to Action
- Hold dispatchers accountable for monitoring weather and traffic reports and routing drivers accordingly.
- Monitor each driver’s availability to ensure hours-of-service violations do not occur.
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.
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