“Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent.” – Author Unknown
Safety is everyone's business. Especially during a pandemic. According to an article written by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is part of the United States National Library of Medicine - a branch of the National Institutes of Health, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on road safety, including the economic impact of pandemic shutdowns, are multifaceted. Also, many long-term effects are yet unknown.
While we may consider that less vehicles on the road should equal improved safety statistics, pandemic-driven factors may have the opposite effect. Some of these factors include increased stress and anxiety, increased use of alcohol and drugs, more idle time, and the physical and neurological impact of COVID-19 itself on patients. At Pace, we remain (as always) focused on safety as our number one priority.
Pace Risk Compliance Analyst/Auditor and safety guru Kevin Thompson offers us these powerful safety reminders:
- Always drive using your seat belt. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, one of the safest decisions a driver can make is to buckle up.
- Don’t look at or use your cell phone or other mobile device while driving. This not only endangers yourself, but also your passengers, and all other motorists.
- Know what the speed limit is and observe it. It is put in place to protect all road users. Remember late won’t kill you - speeding will.
- Avoid drug or alcohol use prior to or (of course) while driving. It is against the law to operate a vehicle while impaired, and it puts you and others in harm’s way.
- Make adjustments due to weather conditions.
- Maintain proper stopping distances. If driving a truck, take into consideration the truck’s height and weight, including the load being carried. Make sure that there is a safe space “cushion” around all sides of your truck to avoid accidents.
- Take a few moments to plan the trip before starting. What is the route? What are potentially dangerous conditions along the route to be aware of?
- Slow down for turns and curves. In race driving, there is a term known as “string theory.” Think of a string attached to the bottom of your steering wheel and tied to your right foot. As you turn, the string “pulls” your foot incrementally off the accelerator, resulting in slowing down as you turn. As the road straightens out, the steering wheel returns to the position where your foot is available to exert a little more acceleration.
- Be mindful of low clearances, such as bridges, tunnels, underpasses and tree limbs. If in doubt, stop in a safe place and check before proceeding, or use an alternate route.
- When backing into parking lots, loading docks or delivery areas, don’t be afraid to use the G.O.A.L. method: Get Out And Look.
- Remember rest and good nutrition will help keep you sharp and focused on the road.
As we mentioned in a previous post on Pace’s Drivers’ Blog titled Safety – It’s Always In Style, developing a safety mindset is key because safety is part of our business. In fact, safety is everyone’s business. A safety mindset keep us and our teammates healthy and able to contribute at work, at home, and in our communities.