DRIVING SAFETY

SECURE ALL ITEMS IN YOUR VEHICLE

Newton’s first law of motion states, an object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This is what is known as inertia.

Unsecured items in a vehicle will continue moving at the speed the vehicle is traveling until the item is acted upon; potentially striking the driver, vehicle occupants or the windshield and causing severe injury.

This same law of motion applies to all occupants within the vehicle. All vehicle occupants must wear a seatbelt. The risk of death of belted, front-seat occupants by unbelted, rear-seat passengers is nearly five times greater than when rear-seat passengers wear seat belts.

BE AWARE OF BLIND SPOTS

The posts on each side of a vehicle’s windshield are called A pillars. Along with large, side-rearview mirrors, both the A pillar and side mirrors can momentarily create a blind spot. When coming to a stop at an intersection, be sure to look around the A pillar and side mirrors for pedestrians, people on bicycles or motorcyclists.

Don’t mount electronic devices on top of the dash or on the windshield, as they can create blind spots.

Minimize items collecting on the dash. When hit with sunlight, they can reflect off the windshield and obstruct the driver’s vision. For example, a person walking in a crosswalk was struck when a driver looked up, realizing the traffic signal had turned green and began to accelerate. A notepad on the dash created a white reflection on the windshield, temporarily obscuring the driver’s view of the pedestrian.

SAFE DRIVING DISTANCES

A vehicle will travel 66 feet every second at a speed of 45 miles per hour. If we look at mental processing time (perception/recognition), movement time (muscle movement), mechanical device response time (brake activation) and use three seconds for the average person to react and apply the brakes, the vehicle will travel 198 feet in the span of those three seconds. This does not account for any skidding distance. Make sure to leave enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

Blind Spot Safety

Originally published 05/22/2018

Definition: A blind spot is the area around a vehicle or piece of construction equipment that is not visible to the operators, either by direct line-of-sight or indirectly by use of internal and external mirrors.

Many people know that virtually all vehicles have blind spots, however most people don’t realize how big they are!

Here are some tips that can keep us all safe around vehicles and equipment:

  • If you’re the driver, ensure you don’t do things to distract you from your surroundings while operating the machinery.
  • Cordon off the area with temporary fencing or hazard tape where possible.
  • A spotter should be used when you cannot practically isolate your equipment from other workers.
  • All pedestrians onsite should be aware of a vehicle’s blind spots and know how to signal the driver if required.
  • The machinery should be stopped if someone needs to approach.
  • If possible, do the bulk of the work with machinery with minimal people onsite.
  • Tools/Attachments on vehicles can create greater blind spots. They can also reduce visibility, or swing which can increase the risk to workers being struck or pinned.
  • Watch out for heavy equipment moving with raised buckets and be ready for possible sudden movements of booms or changes in direction of equipment movement.
  • Do not cross directly in front of or immediately behind large, heavy equipment or trucks where the operator sits higher in the vehicle.
  • Properly adjusting vehicle mirrors can substantially reduce blind spots. Video cameras are also a good source to use to reduce blind spots.
  • Technology such as proximity detectors are very useful, but technology doesn’t replace the need for situational awareness.
  • Radars and sensors can also be helpful to warn workers and drivers.
  • Consider GPS installed on equipment as well as wearable GPS tracking worn by workers.
  • Develop an Internal Traffic Control Plan- Strategies to control the flow of construction workers, vehicles, and equipment inside the work zone.
  • Reduce hazards for equipment operators such as: reducing the need to back up, limiting access points to work zones, establishing pedestrian-free areas where possible, and establishing work zone layouts to accommodate the type of equipment.
  • Provide signs within the work zone to give guidance to pedestrians, equipment, and trucks.

Download a recording form here.