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ASSE Offers Safe Driving Tips For Holiday, Winter Storm Travel

Posted in on Wed, Dec 26, 2012
CHICAGO, il - (December 26, 2012) — As winter storms hit so too does treacherous travel conditions. To help motorists get to their destinations during this holiday season safely, local American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) members urge motorists to follow safe driving tips, whether driving for work or for leisure.  

“Massive storms, combined with millions more people on the road for the holidays, can increase the dangers of driving. We want to remind people to drive safely and be aware of the fact that there are also millions of people on the road as part of their job,” ASSE Regional Vice President Maribeth A. Anderson, of Chicago, IL, said today. “Transportation incidents continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job deaths in the U.S., representing almost half of all fatal work injuries in 2011. By paying attention to the road and weather conditions, obeying traffic laws and being cautious, everyone can help prevent these tragedies and make sure they and their passengers arrive at their destination safely and have a great holiday.”
Unlike other workplaces the roadway is not a closed environment, Anderson noted. Although employers cannot control roadway conditions, they can promote safe driving by providing safety information to workers, keeping vehicles well-maintained and by setting driver safety policies. The ASSE Transportation Practice Specialty group suggests employers:
  • · assign a key member of the management team, such as the safety and health professional, responsibility and authority to set and enforce a comprehensive driver safety policy;
  • · make seatbelt use mandatory;
  • · not require employees to drive irregular hours or far beyond their normal working hours;
  • · not require workers to conduct business on a cell phone or text while driving; and
  • · develop work schedules that allow employees to obey speed limits and to follow applicable hours-of-service regulations as noted at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/twu/ .
A vehicle winter storm kit that includes blankets, a flashlight, cell phone with charger and extra batteries, a shovel, first-aid kit, non-perishable food, extra warm clothes, and water-filled container is recommended. Hypothermia, which occurs when people lose body temperature in cold weather, is a dangerous threat during extremely cold winter months.
For safe travel, it is also suggested that motorists: 1) plan ahead and allow plenty of time to travel – that businesses maintain information on employee driving destinations, driving routes and estimated time of arrivals; 2) winterize vehicles  – before driving check the battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, tire tread and oil level and carry a windshield scraper for ice and snow removal;  3) check weather conditions and alerts from the National Weather Service; and, 4) make sure the vehicle has the correct tires for the road conditions.
When on the road, ASSE suggests one: 1)  remove snow from your vehicle’s windows, lights, brake lights, roof and signals; 2) wear a seatbelt and properly restrain children in the back seat of a vehicle; 3) not drive distracted (a study shows 85 percent of crashes occur within three seconds of a driver’s distraction, if texting or doing something similarly distractive, even at 40 mph, the eye can be off the road for 4.7 to 5.0 seconds, enough time to travel up to 294 feet before one has even started to react to an incident and begin breaking); 4) not speed 5) equip the vehicle with the proper tires for the roadway conditions; 6) brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly and never slam on the brakes — if you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it -if you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal; 7) stay a minimum of three seconds behind a vehicle for passenger and light trucks traveling in ideal conditions– when conditions are not ideal, increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead; and, 8 ) watch out for  black ice –go slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady areas – all spots for black ice.
The leading causes of fatal roadway crashes are failure to keep in the proper lane or running off the road; driving too fast for conditions or in excess of the posted speed limit; driving under the influence; failure to yield the right of way; distracted driving; operating in an erratic/reckless manner; and, failure to obey traffic signs, signals.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional global safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. It has more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members. Go to http://www.asse.org/newsroom/safetytips/distracteddriving.php for driving safety tips and ASSE Midwest chapter information at http://www.asse.org/membership/region5.php .
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