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The New Year Brings New Opportunities in Safety - News - Details

The New Year Brings New Opportunities in Safety

As we ring in 2019, Miller Transfer will continue to make safety our first priority – driver safety, product safety and public safety. To assist in these efforts, the Miller Transfer safety department has developed valuable educational material to increase regulatory awareness and is presenting it on a monthly basis to our drivers and support staff. “This proactive approach supports our company’s number-one core value of safety,” says Ray Fribley, Miller Transfer director of safety. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone arrives home safe and sound without negatively affecting the motoring public.”

Miller Transfer is currently running educational campaigns on the topics of right-hand “squeeze collisions” and ill and fatigued driving. These two campaigns highlight just some of the many potential hazards associated with all facets of transportation.

Avoiding Right-Hand Squeeze Collisions
A right-turn squeeze crash can occur when a truck driver makes a wide right turn and leaves too much space between the truck and the curb. A driver of a vehicle behind the truck may (1) assume that the truck is simply changing lanes or (2) ignore the truck’s turn signal and accelerate alongside the truck as soon as the right lane opens up. Either way, as soon as the truck makes its right-hand turn, the other vehicle may get caught under the trailer or impact the side of the truck.

This type of collision may be prevented if professional drivers are able to recognize the hazards that increase the likelihood of a crash and take defensive measures. Hazards that the professional operator should be aware of include:

  • Inoperable turn signals
  • Dirty mirrors
  • Impatient motorists
  • Unfamiliar routes
  • Traffic congestion
  • Narrow intersections

Other defensive measures include minimizing distractions in the cab of the tractor, scanning mirrors every 3-5 seconds and controlling speed. The professional driver also should set up the turn to allow the trailer to stay within the far right lane. This helps ensures that the lane is protected, thus avoiding enough room for a motorist to creep into the turning radius.

How to Prevent Ill and Fatigued Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 100,000 police-reported crashes annually involve drowsy driving. Drowsy driving, also known as driver fatigue, is often the result of a lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work or non-work activities, or a combination of factors. Below are some tips to help all drivers stay well rested and safe behind the wheel:

  • Get enough good sleep
    When possible, drive when your natural rhythm gives you the best chance to stay alert on the road. In safety studies cited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a 15-20 minute nap offers a quick and easy way to rejuvenate. Naps longer than 20 minutes tend to result in lingering grogginess.
  • Maintain a healthy diet
    Unhealthy eating, along with long working hours and sleeping problems, was shown to induce falling asleep while driving. When possible, eat at regular times and avoid skipping meals, going to bed hungry or sleeping immediately after eating – all of which can evoke fatigue and abnormal cravings or eating patterns.
  • Avoid sleep-inducing medication
    Many over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications are labeled with warnings against driving or operating heavy machinery after taking them. It is important to read labels and understand what you are taking before driving. In some cases, OTC medicines could cause you to fail a drug test, or, in the very least, cause a false positive.
  • Know signs of fatigue
    Being able to identify when you’re getting tired will help keep you – and other motorists – safe. Classic indicators of fatigue and drowsiness include blurred vision, frequent blinking, daydreaming or inability to focus on task; frequent yawning frequently, drifting in and out of your own lane, and difficulty keeping your head up.
  • Avoid "alertness tricks"
    While turning the radio up, opening the window, slapping your face and drinking caffeine may work temporarily, they’re generally ineffective for maintaining long-term alertness. What’s more, caffeine can take up to 30 minutes for your body to feel its effects and excessive amounts can cause headaches, irritability, insomnia and nervousness.

Being alert – a fundamental element of safe, defensive driving – allows us to react quickly to potential issues. It’s so important to remember that, when our tires meet the road, we’re responsible for not just our own lives. But others as well.