DID YOU KNOW?
Thinking Driver has instructors stationed in Saskatchewan, waiting to assist YOU with YOUR fleet safety training needs!
Train your drivers now in a variety of courses and programs including:
– Thinking Driver Course/Five Fundamentals of Defensive Driving
– Winter Driving Fundamentals
– Safe Backing
– Load Securement
– Four Wheel Drive
– Trailer Towing
– Hazard Avoidance Training
– Driver Evaluations
– and So Much More!
Customized program development is also available!
Click here for a link to instructions on how to best use this information, or to view the archive of previous issues.
Meeting Leader’s Guide:
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:
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?
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,
- 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:
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.
- 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 front 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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.
- Stay out of the ‘No-Zone’.
- Leave a good gap.
- Don’t tailgate.
- Allow plenty of room.
- Wear your seat belt.
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!
AVOID INTERSECTION INCIDENTS
Review the Video attachment that accompanies this session.
Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a PDF version here).
Meeting Leader’s Guide:
Open the meeting with a 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.
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?
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!
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
- 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.
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!
SAFETY MEETING PLANNER & AGENDA
- 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.
START YOUR MEETING!
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.
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!
SAFETY MEETING PLANNER AND AGENDA
• 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 ‘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!
You hear it on the radio traffic report whenever the weather gets bad. Accidents all over the place and everyone is blaming the weather! Weather is rarely the cause of an accident or incident. Instead, it’s usually a driver who doesn’t adjust his or her driving to accommodate the weather.
The Questions for this Meeting:
Q: What are the kinds of bad weather that we face in this area and what types of challenges do they present?
Answers could be:
- Snow – causes traction problems and often steering problems if there is accumulation on the road.
- Ice – causes traction and control problems. Black ice can be particularly hazardous because it doesn’t appear on the road.
- Heavy Rain and Flooding – can cause visibility problems and traction issues if it pools on the road. This situation can result in hydroplaning where the vehicle tires rise onto a cushion of water and lose contact with the road.
- Blowing Snow – can create whiteout conditions that are extremely dangerous.
- How many more can we identify?
Q: Why does too much speed cause problems in all of these (and other) extreme weather conditions?
- As speed increases under any conditions, the energy stored by the vehicle movement also increases and needs to be somehow absorbed or dissipated enough to permit steering and braking on whatever road surface you are on regardless of the traction conditions. If traction conditions are poor and you are going too fast to stop or steer, you will end up out of control; either briefly until your speed comes down enough to regain traction, or long enough to crash. That’s just a fact. You can’t change the laws of physics, even if you are an excellent driver.
- A human being takes between 1/2 and 1 second to react to something when driving, and even more time to move the right foot to the brake pedal if stopping or braking is necessary. If your speed is too great in conditions where you can’t see well ahead, you will be overdriving your vision and will be unable to react fast enough to avoid problems. Again, just a fact of nature.
- Combine slippery surfaces and poor visibility with too much speed and you have a recipe for disaster.
- When you are driving under any condition, regularly assess your speed and adjust it as necessary to ensure that you are able to slow or stop to avoid a hazard.
- When you know that conditions are poor and you must drive anyway, leave early or call ahead to notify people that you may be late and take it slower.
- Choose the right lane on multilane roadways and just stay there unless traffic is moving impossibly slow. The guys in the fast lane on slippery roads are almost always going too fast to effectively control the vehicle in any situation except straight line, ‘no problem’ driving.
- Make sure that your lights are clean and are giving you the best possible light and drive at a speed that allows you to stop in the distance that you can see.
Introduce the Video:
Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of adjusting your driving to accommodate current weather conditions.
For the next week make a conscious effort to check your speed regularly in good and bad conditions and try out driving a bit slower; especially in poorer conditions.
If you are a ‘left lane just go as fast as the fastest traffic’ kind of person, try out the right lane for a change and hang out with the ones going a little slower. It’s safer, and you may find that it is less irritating that you imagine when you choose it!
Think about how important it is for you to hurry and take chances in poor conditions. Ask yourself: is it worth investing a couple more minutes to ensure that I get home safe to my family?