Monday, 23 February 2015 00:00

buddhaAs we all become caught up in the business of life and perceived need to hurry, accomplish, arrive on time; and as we find ourselves powerless at times and disrespected at others, useful to stop and think, what might the Buddha do?  Or Jesus, or Mohammed the prophet.  What would Krishna or Confucius or even Moses do?

We may or may not be religious, go to church, pray, meditate or practice a faith, but fundamentally we all know right from wrong.

Too often this knowing is outwardly directed to others in a judgmental way determining whether others are treating us right or wrong rather than internally where we look in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we are taking the true and right path, decision or action.

When we drive, we cant look into the eyes of another and even if briefly connect with him/her, instead we are insulated in our cars and trucks and depersonalize others; easily judging their actions as good or bad, right or wrong and in turn justifying behaviour that we might otherwise never engage in. What might Jesus do if cut off? Swearing and tailgating is likely not the response.

But even if you are not a practiser of spiritual or religious values, is retaliation the right thing to do?

Would the Buddha should someone out of the way in the grocery store lineup or intentionally tailgate someone when driving?


Every spiritual leader ever, professed peace and the importance of tolerance, forgiveness and the inherent goodness in all others regardless of their behaviour in the moment. You and I have both behaved badly at some point but has that doomed us to purgatory and forever tarnished us as a bad person?

In fact, we all are imperfect people, struggling to find out way through life, some more skilled in some ways and less in others. Compassion is an appropriate response to poor driving skill seen in others or even intentional aggressive driving.

The angry, blaming, judgemental and fearful are truly the ones that most need our understanding and compassion rather than our retaliation and road rage.

You may have a GPS in your vehicle that guides you to your destination, but each of us has another compass; and internal moral compass that if you listen to it, before acting or reacting impulsively, will guide us to the best outcome for all.

So when you next drive, make a resolution for this New Year to refer to your internal compass about right and wrong and apply it to yourself first before judging others.

Jesus said,"Let those without sin cast the first stone".The Buddha said, "It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell"

Or perhaps Michael Jackson said it best in his song, Man in the Mirror. "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change "

Written By: Spencer McDonald, President, Thinking Driver

Okay with jacket cropped white bg

About the Author - Spencer McDonald is a respected authority on driver behaviour, psychology and training, and is the founder of Thinking Driver. To learn more about Mr. McDonald, please visit

Published in NEWS
Monday, 06 April 2015 00:00

fleet-safety1Good training is a key element, but only part of the puzzle for vehicle safety!

Employers with vehicle fleet or employees who drive are aware (or should be) that the greatest probability of an injury incident is going to be vehicle or driving related.  Many organizations have, therefore, incorporated driver training into their OHS program.  This is as it should be.

Unfortunately, in many cases, this is where vehicle safety stops.

Training is too often expected to become 'the answer' to vehicle reduction.  A driver involved in an incident, for example, is automatically sent back to re-attend the training program where he/she would almost always pass with flying colours, seemingly without effort.  Lack of skill is clearly not the problem here.

In this situation, is retaining really the answer or are there other forces at play?  Could this be a motivational problem, an attitudinal issue, maybe a medical condition?  Was the vehicle appropriate for the work and equipped correctly?  Training alone can't address all these issues.

A driver training program labouring under the expectation that it should solve all of an organization's driver safety or incident problems is destined to fall short.

Training is undertaken for a variety of reasons:

  • to train and qualify new operators,
  • to provide refresher or upgrade training/education,
  • to reinforce previously learned skills,
  • to re-qualify experienced operators.

But there are many more elements to an effective vehicle safety program.

How does yours stack up?  Compare the features of your vehicle/driver safety program with this list of critical key elements:

1. Senior Management Commitment

Is driver safety seen and acted on by senior management as a critical safety issue?  Frequently we see lip service paid to driver safety, with strong statements of corporate commitment but an absence of meaningful action.  In many cases, senior executives are visibly absent in the training courses associated with the program and have a belief that they are somehow exempt from vehicle safety policies, like pre-trip inspection and circle checks.

Enlightened organizations implement driver safety programs by starting with attendance and qualification on course from executives very early in the process.  These managers lead by example, by committing to the program and adhering to policy (like cell phone prohibition, backing in to park, circle checks).  Workers need to both hear about safety from management and also see management participating and in compliance.

2. Written Policies and Procedures

Vehicle safety policy and practise should be identified and detailed in its own section in your health and safety manual.


The policy should state the company's expectation of employees who drive, as well as specific policy related to job tasks involving vehicle use or movement - on or off-road.  In addition, the policy should state qualifications for use of various vehicle types or classes and the training testing required to achieve these qualifications.

Consequences for non-compliance (if different from the corporate disciplinary system) should be stated clearly.

3. Driver Abstract / Record Checks

Check the driver records of all prospective employees who will be driving for work purposes. Screen out applicants who have poor driving records since they are most likely to cause problems in the future. The driving record should be reviewed annually to ensure that the employee maintains a good driving record, and action should be taken if the record deteriorates.

Clearly define the number of violations an employee/driver can have before losing the privilege of driving for work, and provide training where needed.

4. Incident Reporting and Investigation


All vehicle incidents should be reported and investigated.  Acquire the services of an experienced trainer or vehicle operation expert if one is not available in-house.

Root causes should be identified and action items (if applicable) developed to help prevent future incidents.

5. Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection

Selecting, properly maintaining and routinely inspecting company vehicles is an important part of preventing crashes related losses.  Ensure the vehicle selected for a particular application is suited and properly equipped to permit safe use in that application and environment.

A pre-trip/shift inspection routine should be incorporated into the vehicle safety policy, and vehicles should be inspected daily by the driver.


Regular maintenance should be done at specific mileage intervals consistent with the manufacturer's recommendations.  A mechanic should do a thorough inspection of each vehicle at least annually.


6. Disciplinary System

Develop a strategy to determine the course of action after the occurrence of a moving violation, policy breach, complaint and/or preventable incident.

There are a variety of corrective action programs available; the majority of these are based on a system that assigns points for infraction and/or incidents.  The system should provide for progressive discipline if an employee begins to develop a pattern of repeated problems.

7. Reward / Incentive Program


Safe driving behaviours contribute directly to the bottom-line and should be recognized as such.  Positive results are realized when driving performance is incorporated into the overall evaluation of job performance.

Reward and incentive programs typically involve recognition, monetary rewards, special privileges or the use of other incentives.

8. Driver Training / Communications


The training program should be an integral part of the OHS program and be ongoing.

Conduct initial training and qualification for new hires; even those with clean driving records may have never experienced professional training and only passed a basic government driving exam (perhaps many years ago).  To set a baseline for driver performance and to document competence in case of future problems, employees should be trained, evaluated and qualified on the vehicle type(s) they will be assigned to, in the environment they will be operating in.

Regular refresher/requalification should be an integral part of the program.

The best programs incorporate a driver safety related course, seminar or event annually to keep vehicle safety at the forefront of employees' minds and demonstrate the corporate commitment to safety.

Every two to three years, requalification by on-road evaluation should be conducted.

Keeping vehicle incident rated low goes beyond just providing training, it includes a comprehensive system of the key elements discussed in this article.

How does your organization measure up?

Written by: Spencer McDonald, President, Thinking Driver

Published in NEWS
Thursday, 05 September 2013 00:00

bigstock-back-to-school-suppli_427858[1]At the end of every summer, the days grow shorter and the sun loses some of its warmth but for many parents, it’s the best time of year, as the kids head back to school!

In every town, village, city and neighbourhood, the schools reopen and drivers need to adjust their speed and awareness to make sure all the kids get safely to and from school.

Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a PDF version here).

Questions For This Meeting:

What are some of the things that drivers need to be aware of and adjust for as school goes back into session?

Answers could be:

DSC00002 (3)

  • Adjusting speed for school zones.
  • Young children walking on their own without supervision.
  • Children on bicycles who may or may not know traffic laws and habits.
  • Impatient parents dropping kids off in front of the school and stopping where they block traffic.
  • School buses stopping to pick up or drop off students.
  • Heavier traffic generally as vacation ends and most folks get to their jobs.
  • In some areas, the weather is already getting colder and wetter.
  • Any other ideas?

All of this activity can challenge even the best driver and it’s easy to allow a lapse in attentiveness if you are in a hurry or thinking about something else.

Let’s talk about some of these challenges:

Q: What are the rules for School Zones in your area?

  • Markings?
  • Hours in effect?
  • Speed restrictions?

Q: What are the rules and what is the correct procedure around school buses?

2b4_4 (3)

In every jurisdiction, that we are aware of, a school bus displaying flashing red lights requires you to stop regardless of which side of the road you are on.  The school bus red lights are intended to stop ALL TRAFFIC to permit children to safely cross the street in front of the bus.  Be patient and NEVER pass a school bus with red lights flashing.

Tailgate Tips:

Younger Children Walking


The little ones (unlike some teenagers) can be very excited to get back to school and allow this excitement to overcome whatever road safety education that they may have had.  They may be easily distracted and run out to greet a friend on the other side of the road or simply wander across without checking traffic or using a guarded crosswalk.

Your eyes are your best defense!  Stay alert and keep moving your eyes and tracking those kids!  Cover your brake and watch for telltale signs that they may suddenly dart out.  The lower your speed, the shorter your stopping distance, so keep the speed down!

kids-on-bicycles (3)

Children on Bicycles

For many kids, riding their bike to school is a new thrill and they may only have the basic control skills.  Keep a sharp eye out for riders and when passing them, leave lots of room.  One small wobble or bump can send them right into your path.  The best plan is to wait until you can move way over into the other lane and not pass closely or squeeze them towards the curb or ditch.  New riders are focussed on controlling the bike and are easily startled by closely passing cars.  This can cause them to jerk the handlebars and lose control!

Pick Ups & Drop Offs

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If your route takes you past a school, try to avoid times when school is either going in or letting out students.  Parents who pick up or drop off kids may stop in inappropriate spots and tie up traffic.  Avoid the frustration and traffic jams by picking times carefully.  If you are picking up or dropping off your own kids, park a block away and walk.  The exercise will do everyone good and you can avoid the melee at the front of the school.

Heavier Traffic in Early September, as school goes back in.

Plan in advance for heavy traffic by leaving earlier and expecting to take longer to get to your destination.  It’s much more relaxing and safer to not feel the need to hurry and yet still know that you will arrive on time or even early.  Trying to hurry through heavy traffic is counterproductive and will just stress you out without really saving any time.

Changing Weather Conditions

aquaplaning (3)

As the fall starts and weather changes, make sure that your vehicle is ready.  Check your tires for inflation and tread wear to ensure that you do not aquaplane on water; check wiper blades to ensure that they work well to keep the windshield clear in the rain.  Before winter sets in, get a proper winterization done on your vehicle.


Practical Challenge:

Your goal is to drive at or below the speed limit in every school zone that you encounter this month.  This may be tougher than you think, for some.  If you are used to driving over the limit on most roads, this speed will feel “normal” and slowing to school zone speed will at first feel impossibly slow.  This is just the contrast between your normal “just a bit over” speed in a regular zone and the reduced school zone limit.

Persist!  But if you fail, at least be patient when you get stuck behind the rest of us who are at the school zone limit!

To view the BONUS Tailgate Topics & Tips video segment, click on the video icon!blank-online-video-screen[1]

New Feature: Tailgate Topics & Tips is going VIDEO!

For the past year, Tailgate Topics & Tips has been published every other Tuesday and distributed free of charge to Thinking Driver contacts.

Your response has been overwhelmingly positive.  We have had great comments from you at trade shows, conference, by email and even phone calls.  The positive response has surprised us indeed?

Now Tailgate Topics & Tips is changing and getting better.

Beginning with this edition, we will now publish once monthly on the first Tuesday of each month and include a 3 – 5 minute video clip for you to use in your safety or tailgate meeting.

The basic print edition of Tailgate Topics & Tips has been FREE and will remain free always.

In order to take advantage of the video clip element of the program, after this sample, you will want to subscribe to Tailgate Topics & Tips PROFESSIONAL.

Your PROFESSIONAL subscription will give access to stream, or download video clips as they are released and also give you access to the archive of every Tailgate Topics & Tips video from the time you subscribe.  You may also add CORPORATE subscriptions for additional company associates at a discounted price.

Large organizations will want the CORPORATE subscription which includes subscription for up to 6 associates and a high quality DVD mailed to your office suitable for uploading to your corporate intranet.

In order to make this program affordable for all, we have worked hard to keep costs down:

  • Individual videos: $39.95
  • Annual subscription paid monthly on your credit card: $34.95/month
  • Annual subscription paid in advance: $299 (that’s under $25 per video)
  • Additional annual PROFESSIONAL associate subscriptions for people in the same company: $199 (available as prepaid only)
  • Annual CORPORATE subscription: $799 paid in advance (includes up to 6 individual PROFESSIONAL subscriptions and 1 DVD mailed directly to you monthly with authorization to upload to your corporate intranet with unlimited internal use)

Don’t want the video?  Don’t worry!

For those of you who love and use Tailgate Topics & Tips but for some reason choose NOT to subscribe to the PROFESSIONAL version with video, you will continue to receive the basic print version FREE every month courtesy of Thinking Driver.  The FREE print version is available for one month and then go into the archive which will be available for purchase as the next month’s edition becomes available.


Learn more from Thinking Driver’s President, Spencer McDonald.

To receive a copy of the Tailgate Topics & Tips Professional order form, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Tuesday, 08 October 2013 00:00

Tailgate Topics & Tips Is Now Available in VIDEO!Spencer


Meeting Leader’s Guide:

Opening Statement:

pic 1

On every highway in our nation, we find a mixture of vehicles: everything from the smallest – motorcycles, bicycles and scooters; to the very largest – heavy trucks often weighing 80,000 lbs or over 36,000 kgs.  That’s 40 times the weight of a typical passenger vehicle.

In the US, 5,000 people, every year died in large truck crashes, with nearly 4,000 of those being the result of passenger vehicles and trucks colliding.  In Canada, it’s a similar number per capita.

Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a PDF version here).

Questions For This Meeting:

pic 2

Q: When there is a fatal crash between a large truck and a passenger vehicle or smaller vehicle, which driver is typically the one who made the mistake that resulted in the crash?

Leader: Discuss and encourage debate; ask why do you think that?


pic 3

Surprising to many people, in fatal crashes involving large trucks with passenger vehicles, the large truck driver’s actions are a factor in only 22% of the crashes, while in over 80% of accidents, the passenger vehicle drivers were the main factor.

Q: What driver actions, on the part of the smaller vehicle may have contributed to a crash?  What are the common mistakes that drivers make around larger vehicles?


  • Driving in the blind spot or ‘No-Zone’ of the large truck where the larger vehicle can’t see the smaller one,pic 4
  • Passing a truck and cutting in too closely in front of it,
  • Tailgating the truck,
  • Driving too close to the truck on either side, in another lane, and not keeping your options open.  This also takes away the room for the truck to maneuver.

Tailgate Tips for Staying Safe Around Large Vehicles:

pic 5

Truck drivers have a difficult job navigating through traffic to make their deliveries on time and this task can be made much more difficult if we don’t share the road in a safe and responsible manner.

A fully loaded semi takes a much greater distance to stop and is much less maneuverable than a smaller vehicle so we need to take special care to give them the room that they need to keep everyone safe.

pic 6

  • Stay Out of the ‘No-Zone’.  ‘No-Zones’ are blind spots where you ‘disappear’ from the view of the truck driver.  Make sure that you can see the truck’s mirrors.  If you can’t see the mirror, the truck driver can’t see you.  So stay visible!
  • Leave a Good Gap When Lane Changing in pic 7front of a truck.  Large trucks need a much longer braking distance than cars.  Don’t cut into a truck’s space; if this happens it reduces a truck’s much needed braking distance and restricts evasive action.  At least a 4 second gap is best.pic 12
  • Don’t Tailgate a Truck.  The further you are away from a truck the less likely you will be involved in a collision and the better your vision around the truck will be.  Stay well back.  This increases your vision and lets you prepare for what’s coming up in front of the truck.
  • Allow Plenty of Room.  Large trucks are almost as wide as your lane of travel.  Following too closely behind one or driving in the next lane unnecessarily beside one reduces the space needed for you and the truck driver to react to changing traffic conditions and patterns.  Keep your options open by maintaining your space cushion!pic 9
  • Buckle Up!  In case you are involved in a crash with a truck or any other vehicle, wearing your seatbelt is the single most important thing you can do to save your life in a crash.

Pic 10

What About Unsafe Truck Drivers?

What is the best response when you see a truck driver driving aggressively?

If you see a truck driver driving aggressively and trying to cut through traffic, this unsafe driving may irritate or even provoke you to consider some sort of retaliation.  A better option is to note the name on the truck, the license plate number, time and location.  Call the trucking company and report the driver.  The company will be very interested in this information and the effect on the driver will be much more effective.


Pic 11

  • Stay out of the ‘No-Zone’.
  • Leave a good gap.
  • Don’t tailgate.
  • Allow plenty of room.
  • Wear your seat belt.

Practical Challenge:

This week, pay special attention to heavy trucks when you are driving, and work to keep your space while giving the truck driver the room he needs to stay out of trouble!

Video Template2

Friday, 13 December 2013 00:00


Meeting Leader:

Review the Video attachment that accompanies this session.

Video #29 Template

If you want to use this video for your meeting, complete the order form below and fax/email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  A link will then be provided allowing you access to a non-watermarked video.

Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a PDF version here).

Meeting Leader’s Guide:

Open the meeting with a statement.

Opening Statement:


Over 40% of fatalities happen at intersections because there is so much activity and vehicle interactions but there are a few simple habits that can help you to reduce the risk of an intersection crash.

Questions For This Meeting:

Q: What types of crashes happen at intersections?

Answers can be:

  • Rear end collisions.
  • Turning right conflicts with vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists.
  • Turning left conflicts with oncoming vehicles.
  • T-Bone crashes where someone fails to stop or runs a red light.
  • Others?


Any of these types of crashes can cause significant damage and injury including death.  It pays to take the time to ensure your safety…Your are the only person that you can really depend on to do the right thing.

Q: What are some things that you can do with your vision to reduce risk at intersections?

Manage the Risk


Look Ahead and Anticipate Hazards.

  • Anticipate changes in the lights.
  • As you approach a controlled intersection, where you may need to stop for an amber or red light, or any other time that you may need to slow or stop, anticipate what you may need to do by looking well ahead so that you are not surprised by the light.  You can tell by how long the light has been green or by looking at the walk signals if the lights may change.  Green lights that have been green for a long time are ‘stale green’ and may change at any moment.

Hesitate and Look Both Ways

  • If you are the first car to go on a green light, hold the brake long enough to look left, right and back to the left before releasing and proceeding through the intersection.  We have all seen someone run a red light or a stop sign and just a quick look before going can save you from the red light runner.

Q: How can you give yourself more time and space to deal with problems?

Tips: Keep your options open!

foot on brake

Cover the Brake

  • Covering the brake reduces your stopping distance by saving you the time that it takes to go from gas to brake.  When approaching an intersection, cover the brake by lightly depressing the brake pedal to turn on the brake lights.  This alerts the driver behind you that you may be braking and can help reduce the chances of getting rear ended.

Do a One Second Hold

foot position

  • As you move off in a line of traffic, hold the brake for one second just as the car in front of you moves before moving yourself.  This will open up an immediate cushion of space and following distance and give you time to take your eyes off the car in front momentarily to scan and look past them and down the road.
  • When you stop behind another car, at an intersection, leave enough space to see their rear tires where they touch the road.  This give you enough space to go around if they or someone in front of them becomes disabled and also gives you a cushion in case you are rear ended.

Set Up Correctly for Turns

  • If are turning, keep your front wheels pointed straight ahead until you are clear to turn.  This will prevent you from getting pushed into oncoming cross traffic or pedestrians if you are rear ended.
  • When you stop as the first car at a crosswalk, stop so that you can see the whole crosswalk (both lines) so that even a very short person, a child or someone in a wheel chair or personal scooter isn’t hidden by your vehicle hood.  This is particularly important if you drive a vehicle with a long, high hood-line.

These are just a few simple tricks to keep you safe at the most dangerous place on the road: intersections.

Practical Challenge:


When you are on the road this week, try each of the intersection tips that we have discussed.  Notice how leaving more space or hesitating before moving may feel strange or unusual, but also notice how giving yourself more space, time and better vision prepares you to deal with problems far enough in advance to keep them from becoming emergencies or incidents!


Tailgate Topics & Tips Professional Order Form

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 00:00



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.
  • Save the link to the video in your favourite folder on your browser for easy access.
  • Open and then minimize the viewer just before the meeting to make the video introduction smooth.

Video Template - Chains

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 and fax/email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We will send you a link to the non-watermarked video.


Opening Statement:


If you drive in northern or high altitude areas with extreme winter conditions, you may use traction devices like tire chains to assist with control in winter but if you are not sure how to install them or drive with chains installed, you could be in for frustration and possibly vehicle damage or worse!

Questions for this Meeting:

Q: How many people here have used tire chains?


Tire chains have been around for many years and are still a great choice to add a massive amount of traction in difficult conditions.

Many people have chains in their vehicle in winter but have not yet needed them and therefore have never installed them.

Q: When is the best time to learn how to install chains?

The best time to install chains on your vehicle, the first time, is BEFORE you need them.  If you have a heated or at least dry garage or underground parking area to practise, this is best.

Tailgate Tips:

  • The video that we will watch shortly, shows a common and popular style of light duty truck or car chains but yours could be different.
  • Read the instructions first and follow them carefully to avoid vehicle damage or injury.
  • When installing on the roadside, wear a reflective vest.
  • Install the chains on the drive axle tires, on an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, install on the rear axle.
  • The first steps are to lay out the chains and depending on the type,pass them behind the tire and then connect them at the top or lay them out in front of the tire and drive forward onto the chain before pulling up both ends and connecting at the top.
  • It's important to ensure that the chains are snug on the tire tread and the elastic straps crossing in front of the wheel are also snug.
  • After installing the chains it's a good idea to check the tension after driving a short distance.
  • What is the maximum safe speed to drive with chains installed?  50 km/h or 30 mph is the maximum safe speed.R-047
  • If you are headed into the mountains and the roads are snowy and slick, before you approach a hill, install the chains in a safe area before you get stuck.  Many highways provide a 'chaining up' area.  Use this area and avoid the hazard of being stuck on a hill in a traveling lane trying to stay safe while installing your chains.  Always wear a safety vest to be seen as you work.
  • Remember to take the chains off in a safe area as soon as you are back on clear pavement to avoid damage to your vehicle, the chains and the roads.
  • Once your trip is over, take the time to clean and dry the chains, inspect them, then spray them with an anti-rust coating and re-pack them to be ready for the next time that you need them.winter_car_kit
  • Always carry an emergency winter survival kit including a flashlight with extra batteries, a cell phone, blankets, water, snacks, gloves, boots, first aid kit, ice scraper, jumper cables, extra windshield washer fluid, a reflective vest and reflective markers or flares.


  • Learn to install your chains in advance and practise to ensure that you can do this in difficult conditions.
  • Choose a safe place to install and remove the chains.
  • Wear a safety vest while working outside the vehicle.
  • Check for tension after driving a short distance.
  • Keep your speed below 50 km/h or 30 mph.
  • Clean and store chains properly after use.

Practical Challenge:

If your vehicles have tire chains, install them on a vehicle now as a team.

Download a PDF version, of this meeting planner, HERE!

Monday, 17 March 2014 00:00



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.
  • Save the link to the video in your favourite folder on your browser for easy access.
  • Open and then minimize the viewer just before the meeting to make the video introduction smooth.

Video #32 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 and fax/email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We will send you a link to the non-watermarked video.


Opening Statement:


Your eyes are your first line of defense, but if your vision is obstructed by poor visibility through your windshield or mirrors, you are facing a serious handicap to defensive driving.

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: What can cause problems with vision through the windshield or mirrors?

Answers can be:

  • Dirt on the outside of the windshield or on the mirror.
  • Snow, ice or frost on the outside (and/or inside) of the windshield or on the mirrors.
  • Condensation
  • Smudging from wiping with a dirty cloth or hands inside (this can cause real problems with glare when the sun is low on the horizon).
  • Cracks in the windshield or mirror (or broken pieces missing from a mirror).
  • Poorly adjusted mirrors.
  • Can you think of others?


If you can’t see properly, you will not be able to avoid problems, so when you do your walk around, circle check or pre-trip inspection, make sure to check the windshield and mirrors.

Tailgate Tips:

  1. If it’s cold, warm the vehicle to thaw the windshield and melt the ice or snow.
  2. Remove any excess snow with a brush or broom (keep one handy in the vehicle).
  3. Use a squeegee on the outside windows when fueling up to keep them clean.  While you are at it, clean your headlights and turn signal lenses.
  4. Periodically wash the inside of the windshield to remove dust, dirt and smudging.windshield-washer-liquid
  5. Keep your windshield washer reservoir full and either top it up regularly or keep a spare jug in the vehicle.  This is really important in winter when road spray from the melting snow can require frequent use.
  6. Clean and adjust your mirrors so that the blind spots are minimized.  (You should only see the side of your own vehicle in them if you tilt your head a bit to the side.)

If you can’t see the hazard, you will not be able to deal with it.  Give yourself the best chance to avoid the other guy by keeping your windshield and mirrors in great shape!

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of keeping optimum vision with a clean windshield and adjusted mirrors.

Practical Challenge:

Have everyone check and clean the windshield and mirrors of their vehicle NOW.  Provide paper towels and glass cleaner – now there is no excuse!

Download a PDF version, of this meeting planner, HERE!

Monday, 07 April 2014 00:00



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

  • 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.


Opening Statement:

tire pressure

The only thing that keeps you on the road is your tires so their condition is critical to safety.  You should check them regularly.


Questions for this Meeting:

Q: When you check your tires, what should you look for/check?


Answers can be:

  • Tread depth and condition: there are ‘wear markers’ that will show when your tire is worn to the point of needing replacement.
  • Check for damage or foreign material/objects: cuts in the tread or sidewall, imbedded rocks, metal or other sharp objects.
  • Ensure that you are using the right type of tire for your application.  If off highway use is intended, you should look for the ‘M & S’ mark for mud and snow.  For winter use, dedicated snow tires will have the snowflake symbol moulded into the sidewall.
  • Tire pressure
  • Can you think of others?

Q: Who know where to look to find out the correct tire pressure?

Tailgate Tip:


First of all, you can’t tell if your tire is correctly inflated just by looking at it.  If your tire looks low, it is already dangerously underinflated.  You have to put a gauge on the valve stem and actually measure the pressure.

Many people think that the pressure on the tire sidewall is the right pressure to inflate the tire to.  This is not correct!  The tire sidewall will indicate the maximum safe inflation and weight carrying capacity for the tire and it’s a good thing to know and compare to the tire specification for your vehicle.  It is not uncommon for budget minded purchasers to install cheaper tires that are not rated for a high enough load capacity.  (You can buy a load range ‘B’ or ‘E’ tire of the same size but the ‘E’ is heavier duty and will be rated at a higher load capacity and maximum inflation).


The vehicle manufacturer determines what the right tire size and pressure should be based on the vehicle weight and intended use including load capacity (GVW) this information will be noted on the driver door or door frame or in the glove box or in the operator manual.  This is the pressure that you should inflate to.  Putting too much or too little air in the tire will affect the contact patch and traction that the tire is able to generate.

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of tire inspections including: tire pressure check, inspection for wear and damage during pre-trip inspections (to reduce the incident frequency) and improve safety performance.  Correct tire selection for application is also highlighted.

Practical Challenge:


If you have a tire to bring into the shop or classroom/meeting room, have everyone find the markings that identify maximum pressure and load range, capacity, etc.

Take your group out and inspect the tires on everyone’s vehicle including tire pressure.  Ask each person to find the vehicle sticker that notes correct pressure.

Discuss the findings and variation found in tire pressures.

Then correct the inflation of everyone’s tires if necessary!

Have a safe day!

Download a PDF version, of the is meeting planner, HERE!


NOT A SUBSCRIBER YET?  You will see a watermarked sample of the video.  Get the ‘clean’ video for your meeting now by clicking here to get the order form and fax/email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We will send you a link to the non-watermarked video.

Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:00


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

  • 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.


Opening Statement:


Everybody speeds.  Everybody at some point feels rushed and pushes up over the limit.  It’s even socially accepted to speed; everyone does it and the police always give a bit of latitude before ticketing.  But what’s the big hurry?

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: Do you speed?  Why?

Answers could be:


  • I go with the flow and everyone is speeding.
  • Police don’t ticket until at least 10 km/h over.
  • I’m in a hurry.
  • I don’t like to be passed.
  • There are lots of excuses or explanations or justifications.

Q: So everyone speeds and has their reasons, but can you think of any reasons to NOT speed?

Tailgate Tips:

  • It saves money to keep the speed down.  Higher speeds result in higher fuel consumption.
  • It’s the guaranteed way to never get a speeding ticket.
  • If you get used to going the speed limit and it feels normal, when you are in a hurry, you may go a bit faster, but if you are already speeding, you will go MUCH faster if you are in a hurry.
  • Going just a bit faster won’t make any real difference in your arrival time.  You have to go WAY faster to really save time, and that’s just too risky.

Introduce the Video

Practical Challenge:


Can you drive the speed limit?  For the next week, target the speed limit and if there is no real reason (like fast flowing traffic) to go over, just drive the limit (or slower if conditions are poor).

Driving at the speed limit will feel REALLY SLOW at first, if you are normally 10 or 15 over, because you have become accustomed to these higher speeds as normal.  Once you drive the limit for a while though, this resets your internal speedometer and the limits start to feel just fine.  If you go over a bit when you are in a hurry, this will now satisfy the need to feel like you are going faster.

Can you do it?  Drive the speed limit for a week.  I dare you!

Follow Up Meeting:

Get everyone together in a week or so and talk about how this challenge was?

  • When was it difficult?
  • Easy?
  • What did you discover about yourself?
Friday, 13 June 2014 00:00


Meeting Planner:

  • 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.
  • Save the link to the video in your ‘Favorites’ folder on your browser for easy access.
  • Open and then minimize the viewer just before the meeting to make the video introduction smooth.

Video Template


Opening Statement:

Pretty much all rear end collisions can be prevented by maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you.

Questions for this Meeting:

Q: What is a safe following distance and how can you check that you are leaving enough room?


The only way to accurately check your following distance is by using the ‘time interval formula’ which works by picking a fixed landmark like a sign or some other stationary object and counting seconds as the vehicle in front of you passes it.  The number of seconds that you count is your time interval.

Under the best conditions, the minimum number of seconds needs to be 2 and more as conditions change or deteriorate.

Q: Why is this so important?


Stopping distance is a combination of reaction distance and braking distance.  Reaction distance is the distance that your vehicle travels from the time you see a reason to apply brakes to when you actually move your foot to the brake pedal and begin to slow down.  If you are too close to the vehicle in front, you will hit them NO MATTER HOW GOOD A DRIVER YOU ARE because you can only get to the brake as fast as a human can move and by the time you get there, if the guy in front is already braking hard, you don’t stand a chance.

Q: What are some conditions that would require an increase in following distance?


  • Weather condition: like rain, snow or other weather problems.
  • Road condition: such as gravel or broken pavement or other problems with the road.  In slippery conditions, such as snow, ice or wet pavement, much more space is advisable.
  • Lighting condition: at night or if you are looking into reflected sun or glare, you need more space because you will not see things as easily.
  • Traffic condition: as traffic gets heavier, you need to stay aware of much more than in light traffic, this occupies your attention so more space in front buys you more time to react.
  • YOUR condition: if you are tired or otherwise not 100%, leave more space because your reactions may not be as quick.

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses how to reduce the chances of a rear end collision and notes multiple additional benefits of maintaining a safe following distance.  Time interval formula is discussed and demonstrated and the benefits of enhanced vision, when keeping a good following distance, are also discussed.

Practical Challenge:

Today as you drive, count your time interval and see just how much space you are actually leaving.  Make adjustments as necessary and practise re-adjusting pretty soon, you will be able to judge the distance accurately and will only need to check once in a while!

Let’s all have a safe day!

Download a PDF version of this meeting planner HERE!

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