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.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Remind drivers to expect traffic congestion along bus routes, reduced speed limits in school zones, and the increased risk of pedestrians on or near the roadway. Drivers should be extra vigilant in school zones and bus pickup/drop off areas. Remind them to slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly.
Shorter days and the end of daylight savings time can disrupt a driver’s circadian rhythm. Most crashes occur in the early morning hours and right after lunch. Remind drivers to get plenty of rest, avoid heavy meals loaded with carbohydrates, and limit caffeinated and sugary drinks, such as coffee and soda.
During sunrise and sunset, sun glare can make it difficult to see traffic lights or the vehicle in front. Remind drivers to slow down, maintain proper following distance, and wear sunglasses to reduce glare. If possible, encourage drivers not to drive when sun glare is at its worst.
This time of year brings unique road obstacles, including slow-moving and less-conspicuous vehicles, such as farm equipment on rural roads. Drivers of farm equipment may drive on both the road and shoulder, and can make quick turns or adjustments for road signs, mailboxes, etc. Remind drivers to be patient around farm vehicles and not to pass unless it is safe and legal to do so. Likewise, remind drivers to be on the lookout for animals. If an animal crosses in front of the truck, drivers should slow down and stay in their lane, even if it means hitting the animal to maintain control of the truck.
SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS
When moisture from rain and dew mixes with oils and dust on the road, the surface becomes slippery and decreases traction. Likewise, leaves falling on the road, especially if wet, create adverse road conditions. Remind drivers to observe the proper speed for conditions.
Colder temperatures bring frost and ice, even black ice. Remind drivers to be cautious when driving on bridges and overpasses because they will freeze before the roadway freezes. Also, drivers should budget enough time for a thorough pre-trip inspection and ensure the windows and mirrors are defrosted and clean before starting the trip.
CALL TO ACTION
Discuss fall driving hazards with drivers daily.
Encourage drivers to schedule non-driving time during periods of increased sun glare.
Educate drivers on the dangers of distracted 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.
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