Share The Roads Safely – National Safety Month 2016

June is National Safety Month, and Stonehouse Signs, as a founding member of the National Safety Council (NSC,) encourages all employers and employees to participate by discussing the weekly safety topics the NSC has chosen to highlight. This week’s topic is Share The Roads Safely. Businesses and other organizations are welcome to use this article as a conversation tool to spur an important safety discussion with their employees.

Look for weekly articles from Stonehouse Signs highlighting the National Safety Month weekly topics, or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + for National Safety Month tips all month long.

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For the last week of National Safety Month, the National Safety Council (NSC) is once again focused on bringing awareness to safe driving practices.

This week’s safety theme, "Share the Roads Safely," is intended to highlight safe driving practices, with the idea that safe driving, attentiveness and defensive driving skills combined can help drivers avoid accidents – even if other drivers choose to make unsafe driving choices. As the National Safety Council states, "getting behind the wheel is a time for patience and focus – qualities that can help you avoid a collision should someone else make a bad decision."

Safe Driving
 

The safe driving habits highlighted by the NSC should come as no surprise to any safety-minded professional. They are:

1.  Be Distraction Free

Time and time again, distracted driving has been proven to be a growing – and sometimes fatal – concern. In fact, an estimated 3,100 people were killed by distracted driving in 2014 alone, and an estimated 1.4 million crashes a year involve driver cell phone use such as talking or texting. Yet as the technology within our cars and in our everyday lives becomes more readily accessible, distracted driving is now more of a problem than ever before. Stonehouse Signs encourages you to avoid all technology use while driving, even hands-free or voice activated devices, to help you fully focus while driving. For more information on Distracted Driving, visit our other articles on this topic:

2.  Avoid Impairment

Alcohol was once the biggest concern when discussing worker impairment. Now, even legally-obtained medical prescriptions can impair workers and lead to a higher risk of accidents and injuries, especially while driving. Employers should educate their workers of the risks of all substances that can cause impairment – including illegal drugs, legal drugs and alcohol – and have a clearly defined driving policy that bans impaired driving on the job and while commuting to and from work. For more information on prescription drug and painkiller impairment, visit our other articles on this topic:

3.  Check Your Speed

Speeding is estimated to be a contributing factor in nearly one-third of all driving fatalities. Yet despite this, a study by Farmers Insurance showed that almost 70 percent of respondents stated they regularly went above the highway speed limit. Employers should make their workers aware of the risks of speeding, including:

  • Reduced stopping time or reaction time to changing road conditions, curves in the road or road obstacles.
  • Increased likelihood of a severe, life-threatening crash versus a minor traffic accident.
  • Dangerous navigation of construction zones, where workers may be present and close to the road, and large machinery may be a hazard.
  • Financial risks – speeding uses more gas per mile, and speeding tickets, especially in construction zones, can carry heavy fines. Also, drivers may lose their license after too many speeding violations, potentially affecting their ability to get to and from work.

4.  Rest Up

In 2014, a Chicago commuter train operator fell asleep while on the job, and the resulting crash injured 32 people and caused approximately $6 million worth of damage. The reported cause of her sleep deprivation was found to be erratic work shifts and long hours. While long hours and non-consistent schedules can’t always be avoided in the modern workplace, employers should take care to learn the common causes of poor sleep and drowsy driving, such as long work hours or long commutes, and educate their employees of the risks of driving while drowsy.

5.  Help Teens and Children

Educating more vulnerable and less experienced drivers and passengers also helps reduce traffic accidents and fatalities. All of the safe driving habits outlined above should be discussed frequently with new teen drivers, and all young drivers and passengers should be taught safe driving basics, such as seat belt use.

Defensive Driving

Safe driving habits only go so far to prevent driving accidents, as drivers are almost constantly surrounded by others on the road that may or may not be driving safely. Defensive driving, therefore, teaches drivers the skills to avoid collisions and reduce injury or fatality risk when involved in an accident that was caused by another driver.  For employers, teaching their workers valuable defensive driving skills not only keeps their employees safer, but can also reduce traffic crash liability, reduce insurance rates, reduce company vehicle repair or damage bills and decrease worker’s compensation claims. Many safety organizations offer defensive driving classes, including the NSC, and employers should consider adding defensive driving training for their workers as part of their comprehensive safe driving program.

We hope our safe driving information will help keep your workers safe while on the road. This is the last week of National Safety Month 2016, and we hope you had some meaningful and relevant safety discussions with your workers that will lead to a safer workplace year round. If you missed any of the National Safety Month topics, in week one we discussed Stand Ready To Respond; week two we discussed Be Healthy; and week three we discussed Watch Out For Dangers. Here’s to a safe work place in 2016!

Since its founding in 1863, Stonehouse Signs has produced high-quality visual communications solutions for various industries and the government. The company specializes in custom products for safety, information and accident prevention, and manufactures a full line of safety signs and facility signssafety tags, vinyl safety decals, and custom magnetic whiteboards designed for extended outdoor life, harsh environments and demanding applications. For more information call 1-800-533-9914 or visit www.stonehousesigns.com.

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