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K-State Today

June 28, 2012



National Safety Month Week 4: Driving safety

By Lisa Linck

Driving is one of the most dangerous activities you will do each day. As traffic on the roads increases during the summer months, keep in mind tips on issues such as cellphone distracted driving, safety belt use, impaired driving and aggressive driving.

Productivity and cellphone distracted driving. Many people cite fears of decreased productivity as their reason to continue using cell phones while driving, especially for work.  A National Safety Council survey found that almost 98 percent of member respondents with total bans indicated no decrease in employee productivity after putting a ban in place. To ensure your safety and the safety of those around you:

• Refrain from phoning, texting or emailing while driving

• If you are going to be on the road, schedule times in your day to pull over and check your messages or make necessary calls

• Indicate on your voicemail that you are driving and give people a time when you will be available – you may want to offer the name of a co-worker who could provide immediate assistance

Speeding. The top unsafe driving behavior that contributes to collisions and driving violations is speeding. Many drivers don’t understand the risks being taken when speeding. Speed:

• Determines the force of impact if you crash – the faster you go, the worse the damage

• Increases the necessary stopping distance

• Lessens the driver’s ability to steer around road hazards

Speed limits are not arbitrary but set for safety reasons. Abide by speed limit signs and adjust for the driving conditions – such as inclement weather and when entering construction and school zones.

Sharing the road. We all share the roads whether we drive as part of our job or on the way to and from work. Understanding the limitations and capabilities of different vehicles will help keep all of us safer.

Motorcycles:

• Allow greater following distance behind a motorcycle

• Be extra cautious in intersections – most crashes occur when a driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns left in front of a motorcycle

• Give a motorcycle the full lane width – never try to share a lane

 Large trucks:

• Understand that because trucks are heavier, they require much more of a stopping distance

• Give trucks more room for turns – trucks have a higher center of gravity, making it easier to roll if it turns too quickly

• Trucks have much larger blind spots than other vehicles – avoid driving in a truck’s blind spot by following at a distance that allows you to see both of its outside mirrors

• Don’t be impatient – when it’s safe to pass, give the truck plenty of room and don’t cut back in too soon

Source:  2012 National Safety Council