“Give ’em a BRAKE” — Road Construction Safety and Defensive Driving Tips
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When drivers get behind the wheel, they take responsibility for maintaining control of 2-ton machines that can easily cover a distance of more than 80 feet in one second. Operation of a vehicle must be taken seriously. Unsafe traveling speeds, distracted driving and driver fatigue and are three of the biggest culprits of unnecessary vehicle-related accidents and fatalities.
The No. 1 cause of injury and death in highway construction zones is speeding traffic. Each year thousands of road construction workers are injured or killed at work due to motor vehicle accidents. When driving through construction sites:
- Stay alert and SLOW DOWN!
- Plan ahead and drive an alternative route when possible.
- Watch for road signs that indicate reduced speeds, traffic shifts, etc.
- Increase the distance between the vehicles in front of you.
- Turn on your headlights.
- Stay in your lane.
- Avoid using cell phones, navigation devices, radios or other distractions.
- 1 in 4 fatal work injuries involves a vehicle accident.
- Driving injuries occur every 18 seconds.
- More than 2 million disabling injuries are caused by vehicle accidents every year.
- A car crash fatality occurs every 11 minutes.
- Seatbelts save over 100,000 lives yearly.
In a business climate with people always on the go and an emphasis on productivity, employees may feel the need to talk, text and email while driving. However, doing business while behind the wheel is not only illegal, it’s also extremely dangerous.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get in a crash. To reduce that number, a new federal law prohibiting commercial vehicle drivers from using hand-held mobile phones went into effect on Jan. 3, 2012. This ban prohibits commercial motor vehicle drivers from holding, dialing or reaching for hand-held cell phones, including phones with the push-to-talk function.
There are major fines associated with violating this law. Drivers in interstate commerce or those transporting hazardous materials will be fined up to $2,750 for a violation. Commercial trucking and bus drivers face a maximum fine of $11,000 if they are found in violation of the ban.
The NHTSA estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year, resulting in an estimated 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries. Tired drivers should immediately find a safe place to stop the vehicle and rest.
Warning signs of driver fatigue include:
- The inability to recall the last few miles traveled.
- Having disconnected or wandering thoughts.
- Having difficulty focusing or keeping eyes open.
- Feeling as though your head is very heavy.
- Drifting out of the lane or driving on the rumble strips.
- Yawning repeatedly.
- Accidentally tailgating other vehicles.
- Missing traffic signs.
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