Driving Safety: Managing Distractions
By Dan Deary, posted in Phoenix truck painting on September 12, 2013
All it takes is one quick Google News search to see how profound the impact of distracted driving really is; you’ll no doubt see the multiple news reports regarding often-fatal accidents involving drivers and their cell phones. Distracted driving is especially dangerous when the vehicle being driven is a semi-truck traveling at highway speeds. Unfortunately there is news daily of near deadly, or deadly semi-truck accidents and these damaged trucks are in truck body repair shops all over the country.
When it comes to managing distractions, an educated workforce is a safer workforce. Here are six tips to give your drivers to protect them and your cargo.
Keep your cell phones and other technology silent while driving. You can check for updates to instructions and assignments, messages, or return a personal phone call while at a rest stop. It is much safer to take a minute or two while not driving to bring yourself up to date, than to try to multi-task and allow yourself to be distracted on the highway. Additionally, never send text messages, emails, or surf the Internet while driving. Though it seems obvious, these distractions are still prevalent and cause many accidents; even now that using your devices has been completely banned in many places.
Utilize speak-to-call technology
If you absolutely need to make a phone call, do so safely and lawfully without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. Utilize the technology that most companies are now investing in: speak-to-call technology. With this technology, simply pressing a button will allow you to tell your phone whom to call. Your phone may even be pair-able, meaning you can link it to your in-cab system, allowing you to communicate through your speakers. It helps, however, to keep these calls to a minimum in both quantity and duration, as you are still not as focused on the road, even though you have both of your eyes and hands at your disposal.
Know where you are going
GPS and turn-by-turn directions have proven incredibly useful. But if you’re relying on your GPS, whether it is a standalone device or on your cellular phone, to get you where you need to go with no prior knowledge of your route, you might be asking for trouble. It is advisable to study and know your route well enough beforehand that your GPS turn-by-turn directions act as a reassurance or reminder of where you’re going. In addition, be sure to program your GPS destination before you begin driving.
Taking these precautions will free you up to make decisions on things such as which lane you need to be in, as well as deal with confusion caused by unclear highway signs, confusing entries, exits, junctions, and so on. If you need to re-evaluate and re-study your route, the safest way to do so is to wait until you are at a rest stop or truck stop.
Dealing with traditional distractions, such as eating, drinking, smoking or reading, is as easy as not doing these things. Refrain from any activities that take your hands off of the wheel and eyes off the road. Save them for when you are taking a break or need to stop for any other reason. Additionally, you should develop a habit of adjusting every knob, switch, button or lever to your preferences before you begin driving. Adjust your mirrors, seat, lumbar support or headrest before you set off so that these things won’t distract you once you are driving.
Don’t drive fatigued
Schedules may be tight and you may be working extra hard to finish assignments, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your rest. When you’re tired, your reaction times are slower and you’re running the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. If you’re asleep, you certainly won’t be able to avoid a crash. If you’re tired, find a rest area or a safe place to take a nap.
Ignore External Distractions
You may get bored or tempted by something seemingly interesting, but looking out your window at an accident, someone who has been pulled over, construction work, a scenic view or a billboard advertisement can be a significant distraction. Remaining alert and focused solely on your driving is important to driving safely.
If your drivers follow these tips, as well as all rules, laws and regulations, both your drivers and the cargo they are hauling will be safer, other vehicles on the road will be safer and less big rigs will be found in our nation’s commercial truck body shops.
About the author:
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leading provider of vehicle GPS tracking devices and software for small and midsized companies.