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Friday, 24 May 2013 00:00

1957_Chevrolet_Bel_Air_Sport_Sedan_01[1]When I was 7 years old we came home one day from the grocery store and unloaded everything into the house while the car sate in the driveway. I stayed in the house with Mom and my sister while Dad put the car away. It was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport sedan. Back then it was just a nice car; a couple more decades would pass before it became a classic.

So Dad backed the car into the garage and in the process tore off the back door that I had left open in my rush to get in the house. Clearly my fault - at least according to Dad.

Now in 1965, what do you think happened to children that left car doors open to be torn off by garages? Today it would draw attention from child services but back then I was just being taught a lesson.

But I digress. Whose fault was this really? Or is fault even worth discussing? Whose fault was it when Mom backed over my sister's bicycle with the Rambler?

Things just seemed to go wrong in our family when vehicles backed up. Or perhaps I'm a backing up jinx?

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As a teenager, I cut the front end of my 1970 Dodge Super Bee into a power pole backing out of a service station and once even backed up in a left turn lane (don't ask) with Dad's pick up truck right into the grille of the compact car hiding behind the tailgate. I was real close when my buddy, Terry, backed his Toyota into a stump at Long Beach (he spent quite a while convincing us that it had been his wife's fault...somehow) and I was home when my former wife Rhonda backed her Acura out of the garage (or tried to) with the door still closed and another co-worker once connected with a tree while backing up in a company truck.

Is it just me or does this backing up stuff seem to be just a little more complicated than we all think?

In most vehicle fleets, backing incidents account for over 40% of all reportable vehicle incidents even though we drive in reverse only a fraction of the distances that we go forward. Backing incidents are a big deal. They absorb huge dollars in property damage and not infrequently result in serious injury.

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Not surprisingly, backing incidents are almost always PREVENTABLE. In our courses, we highlight 7 fundamental ideas to prevent backing incidents. Maybe they will help you avoid some problems that I have seen (and on occasion caused).

1. Avoid Backing! - Let's face it, if you don't back up, you won't have a backing up incident. It's easier than you might think. Before you park your vehicle or get into any tight area, think about how you will get out. Can this be done without backing up? Most of us already scope out the spots, in the mall parking lots, that let us drive though an unoccupied spot to the next one, leaving us facing out for a quick getaway. That's thinking! Now apply that same logic at work. If you have to go somewhere to park or for other reasons, back up first, when you can see that the area is clear, and make your first move forward when you leave.

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2. Circle Check - If you are moving your vehicle from a place where it has been parked or has not moved for a long enough that things may have changed, walk around and make sure that it's safe before you move it.

3. Look Back - In a pick up or utility vehicle, set up your mirrors properly and use them! If you can't see what's back there, stop and get out to look! In a passenger car, look out the centre of the rear window, over the back seat. (If you twist around and hike yourself up on your right butt cheek, it's easier). Looking out the driver window, over your left should doesn't tell you much and creates a huge blind spot everywhere except the narrow view down the driver's side.

4. Use a Guide - If someone else is around to help of if you have a passenger, have them get out and direct you.

5. Back Slowly - Your vehicle handles differently in reverse and can get difficult to control with too much speed. A walking pace is all the speed you will likely ever need.

6. Avoid Distractions- Don't try to multitask and use your cell phone or other hand-held device. If you are distracted by strong emotions or in a conversation, stop for a second before you back up and focus on your driving.

7. Practise - We back up so little that most of us never really get very good at it. So get out and practise backing up into parking spots in a deserted parking lot. Take a couple of traffic cones, if you have them, or small cardboard boxes and make up a little course for yourself. As you get better, your confidence will increase and you will soon be backing up safely, like a pro.

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All of the backing incidents that I described above were off the job, and this is where I want to take extra care. Every year hundreds (yes hundreds) of young children are injured or killed when one of their parents, relatives or friends backs over them in the driveway at home. The 7 principles that you just read can save the life of a child. Go back now and read them again.

How can you apply them at home and at work?

Maybe as a kid, my family was pretty lucky after all. We only lost a bicycle or two - and that stupid Chevy door.

spencer

- Written by Spencer McDonald, President, Thinking Driver, Surrey, BC

Published in NEWS
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:00

SAFETY MEETING PLANNER AND AGENDA

Meeting Leader:

  • Prepare in advance to make this meeting effective.  Click HERE for a link to instructions on how to best use this information. circle_check_sticker_final%20copy[1]
  • Thinking Driver ‘Circle Check’ decals available to order for all your corporate vehicles (click here to order decals).  Introduce these decals at the Safety Meeting.
  • Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a PDF version here).
  • Think about how you want to lead the meeting.
  • Is there anything that is specific to your company or operation that you can include to personalize the information?
  • Review the video for this session.

Video Template

NOT A SUBSCRIBER YET?  You will see a watermarked sample.  Get the ‘clean’ video for your meeting now by visiting our online store.

Save the link to the video in your ‘Favourites’ folder on your browser for easy access.

Open and then minimize the viewer just before the meeting to make the video introduction smooth.

START YOUR MEETING!

Opening Statement:

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How often to you walk around your vehicle before moving it?  A circle check is mandatory before putting your vehicle into service at the beginning of the day and any time before backing up if you have been parked and this is the first motion you are making.

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: Why is a walk around or circle check a good idea?  There are many reasons but how many can we identify?

Answers Include:

  • Walking around and checking vehicle condition can identify vehicle defects and safety concerns before you begin driving; in particular, the tire condition.
  • A circle check gives you the opportunity to check the operation of lights and signals.broken tail light
  • If you are backing up (or moving forward in a vehicle with restricted visibility to the front), a circle check will allow you to notice obstructions or hazards in your immediate area that may cause a conflict when you begin moving.

Q: What is your excuse for not doing this quick and important safety check?

Discuss answers.

Tailgate Tips:

Meeting Leader: Check company policy and/or handbook to ensure that you adhere to policy otherwise use the suggestions below.

When you do your circle check, before the start of your day or shift, us a system.  It could be:

  • Unlock and start the vehicle.
  • Turn on headlights and left turn signal.
  • Begin by walking clockwise around the vehicle and check:
    • Each tire as you pass it for damage, cuts or obvious problems including low pressure.
    • Headlights, taillights and turn signal operation.
    • Glass and mirror cleanliness and condition.
    • Look for damage on any part of the vehicle and report it if found BEFORE driving.
    • After arriving back at the driver’s door, click your headlights to high beam, change the turn signal to right signal and walk to the back and front to check the headlight high beams and right signal.
    • If you have backed in near a wall or fence, check your own brake lights by looking for the reflection when you press the pedal, otherwise get someone to check when you apply the brake.bicycle
  • And most important, if your vehicle is in the driveway at home or where there are children around, check for kids playing around the vehicle.  Every year in North America, over 200 children are killed when BACKED OVER in their own driveway by parents, relatives or neighbours.

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of walking around your vehicle to check for hazards before moving it.

Practical Challenge:

Make September CIRCLE CHECK MONTH and make a concerted effort to circle check.  Agree as a group to watch each other and remind those that forget.  Agree to not take offence if you get reminded.

Get the boss and office staff involved too!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

SAFETY MEETING PLANNER AND AGENDA

Meeting Leader:
• Prepare in advance to make this meeting effective. Click HERE for a link to instructions on how to best use this information.
• Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a PDF version here).
• Think about how you want to lead the meeting.
• Is there anything that is specific to your company or operation that you can include to personalize the information?
• Review the video for this session.

Video Template

NOT A SUBSCRIBER YET? You will see a watermarked sample. Get the ‘clean’ video for your meeting now by clicking here to get the order form or visit our online store.

Save the link to the video in your ‘Favourites’ folder on your browser for easy access.

Open and then minimize the viewer just before the meeting to make the video introduction smooth.

START YOUR MEETING!

Opening Statement:

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Awareness of everything around you when you are driving is critical to safety.  Using your eyes effectively to look well ahead is important but mirror use is also critical to stay aware of what’s going on to the rear.  Becoming aware of everything around you is called ‘situational awareness’.  This is a term first used to describe a fighter plane pilot’s ability to be aware of everything that is going on around him in 3 dimensions.  We are equally concerned with the space around us and not only what’s going on in front.

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: Why is it important to be aware of what’s going on behind you?

Answers:

  • Knowing how close the driver behind is following will have an effect on your braking and following distance from the car in front.
  • Vehicles to the rear in other lanes may be preparing to pass or be in the way if you are changing lanes.

One of the challenges of being fully aware of what’s going on to the rear is the blind spot problem.

Q: What are blind spots and where are they located on most vehicles?

Answers:

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  1. Blind spots are the areas around the vehicle that you cannot see directly using your eyes or by use of the mirrors.
  2. The most common ones are to the rear and side in the lanes on either side.
  3. Larger vehicles without rear windows also have large blind spots directly to the rear.
  4. There may be blind spots to the front that are created by the pillars that frame the windshield and support the roof.

One way to reduce blind spots to the rear is to correctly adjust your mirrors.  Many drivers adjust the side or ‘wing’ mirrors so that they see mostly what is behind them and much of the mirror view is taken up with view of the side of the vehicle.  We don’t need to see the side of the vehicle that we are driving.  We need to see what’s going on in the blind spots.

Tailgate Tips:

Here is how to properly adjust your mirrors to reduce blind spots:

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  1. Sit in your normal driving position.
  2. Turn your head to look in the mirror that you are adjusting; you should just barely see (or not quite see without tilting your head) the side of the vehicle.
  3. If you see more than this, move the mirror out until this is the view that you have.
  4. Now do the other side the same way.
  5. Your mirrors are now properly adjusted to minimize the blind spots.
  6. Next, if you have an inside rear view mirror, adjust it to look directly back out the rear window.

Correctly adjusted mirrors will allow you to track vehicles now as you drive.  Vehicles directly behind you can be seen in the rear view and as they move to the side into the next lane, you should be able to track this movement and see them in the side mirror as they move into what is often the blind spot in vehicles with incorrectly adjusted mirrors.  As the vehicle moves past, you should see them in the side mirror and in your peripheral vision at the same time so they are never out of your awareness.

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of adjusting your vehicle mirrors.

Practical Challenge:

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  1. Take everyone out and check the mirror adjustment on vehicles in the parking lot or yard.
  2. Pay attention to the enhanced view that correct mirror adjustment provides.

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It could kill them if you don't

Vehicle Incidents are the most probable way that your employee will get hurt on the job. Protect your investment today with driver training.

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