More than 41,000 people lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes each year and over two million more suffer disabling injuries, according to the National Safety Council. The triple threat of high speed, impaired or careless driving and not using occupant restraints threatens every driver, regardless of how careful or how skilled. The main causes of automobile accidents are: overtaking dangerously, excessive speed, pedestrian intrusion, lane cutting, failing to give way and ignore signs and lights, and alcohol use.
Operating a vehicle safely demands that the driver concentrate on driving. The person should be rested, calm and not under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. One of the greatest hazards of roadway driving is drowsiness or highway hypnosis. Lack of sleep or fatigue affects your ability to safely drive your vehicle. When taking a long trip, avoid drowsiness by stopping frequently to drink coffee, exercise or nap. Exercise your eyes by reading road signs or shifting the focus of your eyes to different parts of the roadway. Make sure you are properly rested.
Question 1: Excessive speed and cutting lanes are two main causes of accidents.
Defensive driving means you are cautious and ready to take action and not put your fate in the hands of other irresponsible drivers. The most important factor of defensive driving is anticipating trouble, or planning ahead for the unexpected. Always be prepared to react to the other driver. Do not expect the other driver to do what you think he or she should do. Do not think you know what he or she is going to do. If you cannot avoid a crash, remain calm and try to choose the least dangerous situation. For example, running into a ditch is less dangerous than a head-on collision.
Question 2: The most important factor in defensive driving is quick reflexes.
Use the two-second rule to determine a safe following distance. Select a fixed object on the road ahead such as a sign, tree or overpass. When the vehicle ahead of you passes the object, count "one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two". You should not reach the object before you count to one-thousand-two. If you do, you are following too closely. Most rear-end collisions are caused by the vehicle in back following too closely. The two-second rule also applies to your speed when you are on a good road and during good weather conditions. If the road and/or weather conditions are not good, increase your distance to a four- or five-second count. If you are being tailgated, move to another lane or slowly pull off the road and allow the vehicle to pass. Do not slam on your brakes.
Look ahead and scan the road and the surrounding area at least a few hundred yards ahead for potential road hazards. Look around on both sides, and keep your eyes open for approaching vehicles, pedestrians, or animals that might enter your path.
Question 3: Most rear-end collisions are caused by the vehicle in back following too closely.
Have an escape route and adjust for hazards. Check your mirrors every few seconds to see what is beside and behind you. Having an avoidance route is essential. If you do not you need to increase your following distance. By slowing down or speeding up only slightly, or by moving to a different lane position, you may avoid a potentially hazardous situation.
Do not depend on other drivers. Be considerate of others, but look out for yourself. Do not assume that another driver is going to move out of the way or allow you to merge. Plan your movements anticipating the worst-case scenario. Remember that the posted speed limit applies to ideal conditions. You are responsible for decreasing your speed to match the conditions.
Question 4: When merging onto the interstate, you should use your turn signal and move over slowly. The car next to you is responsible for moving out of the way.
Try to maintain a speed near that of the flow of nearby traffic, not exceeding the speed-limit. Remember your lane discipline and keep right unless passing. Remember to check the blind spot before making a lane change, too.
Turn your headlights on in dim daylight, rain, or other low-visibility weather conditions and remember to always use turn signals.
Keep a proper driving position. Maintain a comfortable, upright driving position, with both hands on the steering wheel, preferably at the nine- and three-o'clock positions. This will put you in a better position to make avoidance maneuvers. Wearing your seat belt is still the best thing you can do to protect yourself in case the unexpected happens.
Question 5: The best position for your hands on the steering wheel is at the 10:00 and 2:00 positions.
Cut out distractions. Any time you become preoccupied with distractions, you are letting your defenses up. As always, minimize your eating, drinking, CD-changing, and cell phone conversations. Save them for when you are stopped in a safe place. Adjust all accessories. Insure that your mirrors are adjusted as well as your seat. Secure loose objects in the vehicle. If you must make an evasive maneuver in order to avoid an accident, an unsecured object (tool box, brief case, etc.) may fly around in the vehicle and injure a passenger. Some other things to remember are: be patient and courteous; do not drive when angry, overtired or upset; keep your eyes on the road; yield the right of way to pedestrians; do not pass stopped school buses; know where you are going and have a map or directions; allow extra time to get to your destination; always yield to the right of way of emergency vehicles in pursuit of an emergency situation.
Question 6: Loose items in your car are a potential hazard.
Hydroplaning: If you are hydroplaning, take your foot off of the gas pedal, and keep the steering wheel straight. When the car's momentum has slowed down and the tires grip the road again, you can regain control.
Brake Failure: If your brakes fail in a car with manual transmission, shift into a lower gear, release the clutch, and apply the emergency brake. If your brakes fail and you have an automatic transmission, apply the emergency brake and move into the lowest gear.
Pedal Sticks: If your gas pedal sticks, tap the gas pedal or lift the pedal with your foot, trying to unstuck the throttle linkage. Shift to neutral and apply pressure to the brakes. Be careful not to lock the wheels. Turn the key off to stop the engine.
Tires Blow: If your tire blows out, try to keep the car going straight and reduce speed. Do not apply the brakes until the car is at a controllable speed. Move your vehicle to a safe place off of the road.
Question 7: If you are hydroplaning you should take your foot off the gas and keep steering straight.
Skidding: If your car is skidding, ease off the accelerator. Turn the steering wheel in the direction that the rear of the car is skidding. When your car's path begins to straighten, turn the steering wheel back the other way to avoid over-steering.
Head-On Traffic: When a vehicle is approaching head-on in your lane, slow down immediately. Pull over to the right and sound your horn.
Driving Off the Pavement: If you drive off the pavement you should grip the wheel firmly, ease off the gas and brake gently. After checking for traffic behind you, gently steer back onto the pavement. Do not jerk your wheel to correct your steering. This may cause you to drive into oncoming traffic.
Water: If your vehicle runs off the roadway into water but does not sink right away, try to escape through a window. Because of differences in water pressure, you may not be able to open your door. If your vehicle does not sink, move to the back seat area where an air pocket usually forms. Take a deep breath and exit from a rear window.
Fire: If smoke appears anywhere on or in your vehicle, pull off the road. Turn off the engine, move away from the vehicle and call the fire department. Vehicle fires can be very dangerous. Do not fight the fire yourself.
Question 8: If you drive off the pavement you should grip the wheel firmly, ease off the gas and brake gently.
If an employee is driving their personal vehicle and are involved in an accident, they should contact their supervisor and complete an in-house Incident Report and a Workers Compensation Form (if applicable). Also, any reports relating to persons served injuries should be completed as required.
For an accident involving a company owned or lease vehicle the following documentation is required: 1) an official accident report 2) if over $500, a state accident report (filed within 72 hours, 3) an in-house Incident Report, and 4) two vehicle repair estimates, and 5) if necessary, a Workers Compensation form
Question 9: If you are in an accident with your own vehicle on company time you need to fill out an incident report and a Workers Compensation form, if needed.
In order for many of our persons served to interact in the community with friends, it may be necessary for staff to transport not only our persons served, but their friends or family as well. If the person served (and friend or family) are able, they will first use community transportation. If they are unable, or if public transportation is not available, staff will use a company vehicle. Staff will not be expected to transport someone if they feel it would present a danger.
Question 10: Staff are never allowed to transport a friend or family member of a person served.
Iowa law requires use of safety belts by all drivers and front seat passengers in non-commercial vehicles. All Progress Industries' staff and persons served will obey this law while working, volunteering or receiving services. Front seat airbags, when released, could be fatal to children and persons 5 feet tall and under. Follow these guidelines: 1) A child under 1 year old and weighing less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system. 2) A child under 6 years old must be secured in a child restraint system. 3) A child from age 6 to 11 years of age must be secured in a child restraint system or seat belt. 4) All persons 12 years of age and older and are 5 feet tall or under will be told of the possible hazard and will be encouraged, but not required, to ride in the back seat if an airbag is located in the front. Staff, executor and guardian are responsible for persons served obeying the law.
Question 11: Children and adults who are 5 feet tall or under will be required to ride in the back seat.
Progress Industries will maintain a limited number of vehicles for use by employees who are engaged in company business. It may also be necessary for employees to use their own vehicles to carry out their job duties. Company vehicles are assigned to those departments which have demonstrated a continuing need for them. Employees required to travel by automobile in the course of their normal work day may be assigned a company car for their use while on business. All other employees needing transportation for company business may use automobiles assigned to their department or those from another department, if available. When no company cars are available employees may use their own car for business purposes with approval from their supervisor.
Every employee who drives on company time must possess a valid driver license and maintain at least the minimum amount of insurance required by law. It is recommended to carry adequate liability insurance in the amounts of $100,000/$100,000 bodily injury and $100,000 property damage or a $100,000 combined single limit. Each employee is personally responsible for any fines incurred as a result of driving or parking violations.
In addition, no employee is permitted, under any circumstance, to operate a company vehicle, or personal vehicle on company time when any physical or mental impairment causes the employee to be unable to do so safely. This includes, but is not limited to, circumstances in which the employee is temporarily unable to operate a vehicle safely or legally because of illness, medication or intoxication.
Question 12: Employees who incur parking or speeding tickets while on duty can submit them to the finance office for reimbursement.
Employees using company vehicles are responsible for proper maintenance and must report any malfunctions or maintenance requirement to their supervisor. They must also return the vehicle with at least one-half tank of gasoline and free of trash. Permanently assigned vehicles must be returned to their site.
Question 13: If you notice a non-working turn signal in the company vehicle you are driving, you should contact the safety committee.
Employees must report to the Compliance Director any accident, regardless of the extent of damage or the lack of injury, involving company vehicles or a personal vehicle used for company business. Such reports must be made as soon as possible, but no later than within 48 hours of the accident. Employees are expected to cooperate fully with the authorities in the event of an accident. However, employees should make no voluntary statement other than in reply to questions of the investigating officer.
Question 14: As long as no one was injured, there is no need to report accidents that occur on company time to the Compliance Director.
If a serious medical incident occurs during travel, the driver should call 911, follow instructions and then drive to the nearest emergency room unless passenger needs immediate assistance, then the driver will do the following: 1) Give CPR if needed. 2) Give verbal orders to other riders so as not to hamper first aid procedures. 3) When assistance arrives the patient should be taken as soon as possible to the hospital. 4) The driver will fill out an incident form to be kept in the persons file, along with a statement from the attending physician. 5) The driver will call the manager to inform them of the person's status.
A disturbance by a passenger in a vehicle during company business will be handled in the following way: 1) If the disturbance is detrimental to continued safe operation of the vehicle the driver should pull over and try to resolve the disturbance. 2) If the passenger injures themselves or others the driver is to administer proper first aid. 3) If the disturbance is serious the driver will remain stopped and call for help, if they have access to a phone. If no phone is available they will seek help from passing vehicles. 4) If the injuries are serious, the driver should call 911 and follow recommendations. 5) If the driver is without a phone or other means of communication they should use best judgment and proceed to the nearest emergency room if warranted. 6) Notify their manager and complete an incident report.
Question 15: A person served is creating a disturbance in the vehicle. The driver should immediately drive them to the emergency room.