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Monday, 15 June 2015 00:00

SAFETY MEETING PLANNER & 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 of the video.  Get the ‘clean’ video for your meeting now by visiting the Tailgate Topics & Tips page on the Thinking Driver website.

START YOUR MEETING!

Opening Statement:

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As we move into summer, it’s worth talking about some of the other road users that begin to appear when the weather improves.  Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups to injury or fatality when involved in collisions.  By nature, motorcycles attract a contingent that are risk takers and may be much more aggressive in their driving/riding habits.  These riders often find themselves the makers of their own misery as single vehicle accidents resulting from excessive speed or poor riding skills paired with high risk behaviour.

But what about the majority of riders?  Most are more careful and take much less risk than these other aggressive riders.

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: When a crash happens involving a motorcycle and other vehicle, who is typically found at fault?

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Answer:

It’s most often the fault of the OTHER DRIVER… SURPRISED?

In fact, when it’s not a single vehicle incident involving the motorcycle, it’s usually the other driver who has made a mistake that resulted in the accident.

Q: What is the most common place and type of collision involving a motorcycle and other vehicle?

Answer: (solicit as many as the group can suggest)

DecisionLine[1]

There are certainly many places where vehicles can collide; but the most common place for another vehicle and a motorcycle to collide is at an intersection when the other driver is turning left and turns in front of the motorcyclist.

Q: Why does this happen? (a driver turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle)

Answers:

There are 2 primary reasons that this can happen:

1. The driver of the other vehicle simply did not see the motorcycle.  Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see and many drivers don’t think to actually watch for them.

2. The driver of the other vehicle DOES see the motorcycle but thinks he has time to turn because he misjudges the approach speed.

Tailgate Tips:

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Motorcycles are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection of a car or truck bodywork and collisions almost always result in injury.

If you expect to see motorcycles, you are more likely to detect them.  Often we can filter out the things that we don’t expect and just not see them.  Look for motorcycles especially at intersections.

Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances.  This means that when you are following a motorcycle, you should leave more distance.  If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in much shorter distance than your vehicle.

When you see a motorcycle approaching realize that it’s easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the cycle and the fact that it’s coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.

Use the vision tips from the first of Thinking Driver’s 5 Fundamentals, ‘Think and Look Ahead’ to develop your vision skills:

1. Keep Your Eyes Up – It’s tempting to look down and over the hood of the car at the centre line or the tail lights in front of you, but this can cause several problems.  When your eyes are looking downward over the hood, steering can become choppy and require many more adjustments and frequently you will either cut corners or run wide.  It’s much more effective to keep your eyes up and this practise prepares your for the next technique.

2. Eye Lead Time – Look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of where your vehicle is at any given time.  As your speed increases, so will the distance you look ahead if you always look for this time interval.

3. Move Your Eyes – This takes practise and intent.  Look left, right, ahead and into the mirrors and as you look, identify potential problems so that you can decide what you will do about them.  Moving your eyes is particularly important to see things to the side because your peripheral vision becomes increasingly ineffective as your speed increases.

4. See the Big Picture – By moving your eyes, you get a ‘big picture’ perspective of the traffic environment and your place in it.  Pilots all this ‘situational awareness’ and it helps you to make good decisions about speed and movements such as lane changes, well in advance.

5. Eye Contact – The only way to know if another driver sees you is to make eye contact with them.  If they are looking at you and you see them making eye contact with you, you can be fairly sure (but not guaranteed) that they see you.  If another driver is moving into your space and you want to establish eye contact, a light tap on the horn will attract their attention.

Introduce the Video:

Thinking Driver President, Spencer McDonald, discusses the importance of being aware of all road users, especially motorcycles.

Practical Challenge:

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For the next week, make a point of watching for motorcycles and develop a habit of identifying them as soon as you can.

Be especially careful at intersections when you are turning left.

Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00

Thinking Driver programs are now “Government Approved!” for point reduction in Nova Scotia!

Published in NEWS
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 00:00

SAFETY MEETING PLANNER & 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 of the video.  Get the ‘clean’ video for your meeting now by visiting the Tailgate Topics & Tips page on the Thinking Driver website.

START YOUR MEETING!

Opening Statement:

In order to have an accident, involving you and another vehicle, the two vehicles need to come into contact.  It makes sense then, to do whatever is reasonable to reduce the chances of this unfortunate contact.  The most obvious way to do this is to keep away from other vehicles!  The further away you are from other road users, the less chance that you will have a conflict.  Keeping space between yourself and others on the road is called keeping a SPACE CUSHION.

The Question for this Meeting:

Q: Where are the places that vehicles get too close together and risk conflict?

Answers could be:

tailgating[1]

  • At intersections where everyone is waiting for the light or for their turn at the stop sign;
  • On the highway where tailgaters may follow too close;
  • On multilane roadways where other vehicles (especially large ones) may drive right beside you;
  • When merging and other vehicles may not allow enough space;
  • Can you think of more?

The safest and most relaxing driving style is to try and drive all by yourself on the road, well away from other drivers.  The benefits of this are many.  This practise automatically reduces the chance of accidents simply because you are further away from other vehicles but there are many more!

More space gives you:

  • More time to react and brake or steer if something unexpected happens;
  • Better visibility around the vehicle ahead;
  • More room to manoeuvre and lane change if there is a delay or obstruction in your lane;
  • A smoother ride because you no longer need to brake abruptly;
  • Better fuel economy and reduced vehicle wear because you are now driving more smoothly.

It’s easy to adjust your driving style to develop a space cushion, and it doesn’t cost you anything…In fact, it may save you time because you can plan your moves further in advance to avoid hold-ups.

Tailgate Tips:

550px-Merge-Onto-the-Highway-Without-Crashing-Step-3[1]

  • On the highway, adjust your speed to minimize the time that you have other vehicles right next to you;
  • When all the traffic is moving at the same speed, and is grouped together, keep the same speed but run that speed outside of the pack so that you won’t be part of it if there is a crash (ever hear of chain reaction crashes?);
  • Keep a good following distance – at least 2 seconds but 3 or more is better;
  • Stop at intersections so that you are far enough back to see the crosswalk if you are in car #1 in line, and far enough back so that you see the tires on the car in front of you where they touch the road if you are not the 1st car in line;
  • Hesitate for just 1 second when you move off if you are in a line of cars.  This gives you an immediate cushion in front;
  • Signal early when lane changing or merging and wait for someone to give you the space rather than forcing the issue…somone almost always will.  Next time, return the favour and let someone else in.  That is just good defensive tactics, instead of challenging them to force their way in;
  • If you are tailgated, add more following distance in front so that you will be able to brake gradually when necessary and reduce the chance of the tailgater running into your rear (sure it’s his fault if he does, but do you really need the hassle?).

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of leaving space around your vehicle when driving.

Practical Challenge:

Today, when you are on the road, pay attention to how close you may be to other drivers when you may be able to use these techniques to build a space cushion, then try them out and see how easy it is to apply this Thinking Driver Tailgate Tip!

2 seconds

Download a pdf version here!

Friday, 10 April 2015 00:00

SAFETY MEETING PLANNER & 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 of the video.  Get the ‘clean’ video for your meeting now by visiting the Tailgate Topics & Tips page on the Thinking Driver website.

START YOUR MEETING!

Opening Statement:

accidentstory

Rear end collisions can cause severe vehicle damage and result in serious injuries.

Braking early to alert the driver behind is one way to reduce the chances of getting hit from behind but are there other strategies?

What else can you do to prevent another driver from running into you from behind?  While you may not have any control over what the guy back there does, you do have some control over whether he sees you or not and if you fail to take the actions that you can to be visible, then you have failed to take every reasonable action to prevent the collision.

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: What conditions could exist that could make it hard for the driver behind you to see you?

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Answers:

  • Fog
  • Twilight
  • Dusty conditions
  • Snowy conditions
  • Rain
  • Essentially, any condition that impairs visibility.

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Many drivers fail to adjust speed in adverse conditions and drive too fast causing them to ‘overdrive’ their headlights.  In other words, they are going so fast that they can’t stop in the distance that they can see, so they are likely to hit a stopped or slow moving vehicle.

Q: What’s the best way to make your vehicle more visible from the rear in adverse conditions?

fog-s

Answers:

TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS.

When others can see you, they are more likely to avoid conflicts.  Using both headlights and taillights is your best strategy to ensure that other drivers have a good chance of seeing you.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t turn on our lights in low visibility because we either don’t think about this at all or we already have daytime running lights and think that this is sufficient to alert other drivers.

daytime running lights

Daytime running lights have been required for vehicles in Canada since 1989 and they are common although not required in the US.  The purpose is to enhance vehicle visibility – to make you more visible to other drivers.

This vehicle feature turns on the headlamps at a lower intensity as soon as the vehicle is started and put into gear, or the brake is released.

Daytime running lights don’t turn on the taillights though, so they don’t help with visibility from the rear.

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Q: How many of you turn on the lights when visibility deteriorates to become more visible from the rear?

Answers:

For the ‘YES’ people: GREAT!  Keep it up!

To the ‘NO’s': Here is your challenge.

Practical Challenge:

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The next time that you are driving in conditions that reduce visibility, turn on your lights and get the benefit of greater visibility from both front and rear and reduce your risk of getting rear ended!

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of turning on your vehicle lights when driving visibility deteriorates.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 00:00

SAFETY MEETING PLANNER & 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 of the video.  Get the ‘clean’ video for your meeting now by visiting the Tailgate Topics & Tips page on the Thinking Driver website.

START YOUR MEETING!

Opening Statement:

Even the best drivers can let their driving deteriorate when their attitude starts to slide.

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: What attitudes can turn a normally good driver into a risk-taking one?

Answers:

road_rage[1]

  • A feeling that everyone is out to get me or hold me up.
  • Judgements about other driver’s actions “everyone else is a lousy driver” that leads to frustration.
  • Angry feelings that may have no connection with driving until you are behind the wheel like a fight with the boss or spouse or kids or co-worker.
  • A need to be right or “win” in a situation.
  • Can you think of more?

These things are called personal factors and they influence our driving behaviour if we let them.

Attitudes are a combination of what we are thinking and feeling.  These are things that we have control over at least to some degree.  Someone who regularly cultivates strong negative feelings and thinking including anger and blame will often have what is called a bad attitude but this is just a reflection of their emotional state.

Q: What kind of driving behaviour can result from negative attitudes?

Answers:

road-rage[1]

  • Aggressive driving like speeding or cutting others off.
  • Retaliation and road rage
  • Vehicle abuse
  • What others?

Taking personal responsibility for our thinking, feelings and attitudes is a key to safe vehicle operation.  When you are behind the wheel, it’s your responsibility to drive defensively regardless of the pressure that may invite you towards negative thinking and emotion.

Tailgate Tips:

  • If you believe yourself to be a good driver, realize that most others are not as skilled as you and give them a break!  Don’t expect perfection: in fact, expect poor driving from others and take the high road by not reacting negatively.
  • Remind yourself about everything that you have to be grateful for in life.  It sounds simplistic but if we forget that we have so much to be grateful for, and start focusing on the negatives, we can easily get caught up in an attitude slide.courtesy wave
  • Give the other guy a break regularly and make sure that if someone gives you a break to return a friendly wave.
  • Remind yourself regularly that you are in control of your emotional weather and that it’s your thinking that most determines if you have a sunny disposition or a stormy one!

Introduce the Video:

Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of keeping your attitude in check while driving.

Practical Challenge:

teen-driving2.s300x300[1]

For the next week, check your attitude and see if you can shift it in a positive direction by thinking positively about just about anything.  The easiest thing is to just think about everything that you can be grateful for in life.  Notice that choosing your thoughts really does shift your attitude towards everything including driving!

Monday, 25 February 2013 00:00

images[1]When we survey drivers during our training courses, wer regularly have over 90% of participants rating themselves as better than average drivers. You probably fall into this group too. It's almost certainly true; most of the time at least.

I have conducted thousands of driving evaluations over 25 years and I have run across very few really bad drivers. This raises the question of why we continue to have so many accidents on our roads and perhaps in your organization.

It can't be just a few bad drivers causing all the problems, so it must be something else. Could it be that all of us "good" drivers are the problem?

In fact, even good drivers will sometimes take chances and make mistakes in judgement that can end up in a crash.

What could cause a good driver to become involved in an at fault accident or property damage incident?

Good driving is a combination of Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes.

We need skills to safely and competently operate a motor vehicle; knowledge of the rules and regulations, and a positive attitude.

For decades, driver safety programs have identified these elements as the key to accident reduction and done a good job of refreshing knowledge in a classroom or on-line course and polished skills with behind the wheel training. Having a good attitude is also stressed. But what is a good attitude? What are attitudes in the first place?

We know a bad attitude when we see one, but to successfully make meaningful changes to driver behaviour, we need to help drivers understand, recognize and change their attitudes.

Attitudes are a mixture of belief systems and values that determine how we both respond to things in our lives like driving. It is our attitude that determines how we will use our skills and knowledge when confronted with a driving challenge.

Pre-conceived notions about other drivers based on age, gender or ethnicity and expectations about their behaviour, can create attitudes of intolerance and frustration where cooperation and patience may yield more positive results.

Failure to accept our powerlessness in situations where traffic is slow or tied up can encourage aggressive driving behaviour in an attempt to get there quicker.

Our attitudes are the prime determinant of how much risk we take on the road; our risk tolerance.

Risk tolerance is the amount of risk that we normally accept when performing a risky task like driving. What is crucial to understand, is that our tolerance for risk can change in a moment based on our internal state and the events around us.

Our emotional state is one of the personal factors that can cause changes in our willingness to risk. Stress, anger, overconfidence and fatigue are a few of these factors.

Our expectations play a huge role in the process. If we live in a world of SHOULD, we drive with the expectation that others should drive properly or safely, respect our space and follow the rules, and we are setting ourselves up for a stressful trip. When another driver doesn't meet our expectations and doesn't do what they SHOULD do, we may respond in anger and find that our willingness to take an unsafe risk escalates.

Anger at other driver's behaviour and frustration with traffic can cause us to take chances. So can minor problems like running late.

If you honestly ask yourself if you have ever done something downright dangerous while driving under the influence of stress or frustration, you will likely say yes.courtesy wave

You see, most people ARE good drivers, except during moments when they become angry, frustrated or otherwise influenced by factors that elevate risk tolerance.

Changing expectations is just one stress reduction technique that can make a major difference in driver attitudes and behaviour but most driving course fail to consider it and instead bore drivers with review of rules that most already know and for the most part, follow.

When we live in a world of IS instead of SHOULD, we drive with the expectation that there will be discourteous or rude drivers and that there will be traffic tie-ups and delays. We are armed now, however, with the knowledge and tools to safely and responsibly manage ourselves in these stressful situations. This goes a long way towards reducing risk taking behaviour behind the wheel of the company truck or our personal vehicles.

To make changes in fleet safety, simple driver training is only part of the solution. Defensive driving courses or refresher training that focuses only on driving rules and techniques, misses the critical issue of personal factors and attitudes that change risk tolerance. To be effective, driver safety training and education must focus on driver attitudes about risk and stress and provide more meaningful and workable tools that employees can use to self-manage these states. "HE CUT ME OFF" just doesn't cut it as an excuse for retaliatory behaviour that results in and incident.

Spencer McDonald - President of Thinking Driver, Surrey, BCTD Logo

(reprinted as previously printed in Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine)

images[6]

Published in NEWS
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 00:00

logo_Saskatchewan-Safety-Council[1]The Saskatchewan Safety Council's 40th Annual Industrial Safety Seminar took place February 4-6, 2013 in Regina, SK. Thinking Driver was pleased to be in attendance and had a display booth in the tradeshow component.

Training Coordinator, Pam Peterson, spoke with attendees and visitors to the booth about the Thinking Driver courses and products available in Saskatchewan and throughout North America.

Thinking Driver's Chief Instructor and Regina resident, Dan Boyer, was on hand to meet clients and other Saskatchewan based company reps to answer their driver training questions.

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Spencer McDonald, President of Thinking Driver and recognized authority on driver behaviour, psychology and training, delivered a session on "8 Critical Fleet Safety Elements".

Published in NEWS
Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00

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Thinking Driver, a leading corporate driver improvement training and consulting firm based in British Columbia and Safety Services Nova Scotia, a not for profit safety services provider recently signed an agreement granting Safety Services Nova Scotia distribution rights to Thinking Driver products and services in Nova Scotia including Thinking Driver training courses, training support materials, eLearning products, DVDs and other Canadian content safety products.

Thinking Driver courses and services are in use by government and industry across western and northern Canada and into the U.S. serving a diverse spectrum of industrial and government sectors from oil and gas, transportation, engineering and environmental as well as heavy industry and construction.

about_careers_safety-services-logo[1]

Thinking Driver President, Spencer McDonald says: "We are delighted to have Safety Services Nova Scotia join our distribution network. We have points of service across Western Canada with instructors as far as Saskatchewan and a U.S. distributor serving numerous states, but have been seeking a professional organization to represent Thinking Driver in Eastern Canada."

To read more of this press release from Safety Services Nova Scotia, click here.

Published in NEWS
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 00:00

One driving attitude that can get us into trouble and stress out is an obsession with getting around the guy in front of us.1713167[1]

Do you need to be at the front of the line?

Common sense tells us that there really is no front of the line to reach, so to try and get there by weaving through traffic and passing anyone in front of us is a losing proposition. We are reminded of this every time that slow guy, that we just passed, catches us at the next light!

(Don't you hate when that happens?)

Rushing through traffic in an attempt to get to the front of the line or to make up time when you are late just doesn't make sense. It's high risk driving, uses more fuel, it's stressful and leads to violations or worse. It just doesn't work.

We conducted a study a few years ago, using 3 of our instructors, who all came in from the same suburb of Vancouver, to see how much quicker hurrying through traffic would be. We assigned 2 different alternating driving styles for each driver to use on alternating days: one style was to get to the office as fast as possible and the other was to relax, choose a lane, stay in it and go with the flow. The rules for "getting there as fast as possible" were: no red light running, but push the yellows to the legal limit, no excessive speeding, change lanes to get ahead whenever you get past another car. The rules for "go with the flow": relax, leave a safe following distance, drive as perfectly, safely and defensively as possible.

What were the results after a month of gathering times? Depending on traffic, the commute took between 45 and 60 minutes daily but the most interesting result was that regardless of how heavy or difficult the traffic was, the get there "fast" group only saved an average of 3 minutes over the "defensive" group on any given day. A 3 minute saving at the cost of up to an hour of concerted aggressive driving! Not much of a pay off.

Getting%20Passed[1]A better attitude to adopt is one where you choose a lane that works for you, stay in it, go with the flow and leave a comfortable space in front of you. Let someone else rush around you then smile and wave when you catch them all stressed out at the next light and you just cruise up relaxed and stress free.

When we expect traffic to be heavy and slow and choose an attitude of acceptance, we can relax and drive safely and defensively in the knowledge that it really doesn't take that much longer. Arrive calm, and ready for the day instead of frazzled and burned out before we even start work.

Seasoned professional drivers know this. They will tell you that the best strategy is acceptance of traffic conditions and a go with the flow attitude. Back in the day, a crusty old trucker, named Dick, taught me to drive trucks and said, "slow down and make time". Dick said that he loved it when he missed the light and caught a yellow. He said, "there's nothing like being front of the line and first off on the green!". Maybe there is a front of the line after all.

  • Spencer McDonald, President, TD Logo

 

Published in NEWS
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 00:00

Come visit us!TD Logo

Thinking Driver is pleased to be in attendance at the following Safety Conferences across Canada:

  • March 20 - 21 - Safety Services Nova Scotia: 31st Annual Health, Safety & Environment Conference, Halifax, NS (more information)
  • April 5 - BC Trucking AGM, Northview Golf Club, Surrey, BC
  • April 22 - 23 - Western Safety Conference, Vancouver, BC (more information)
  • April 30 - May 1 - Partners In Prevention, Mississauga, ON (more information)

 

Published in NEWS
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