Drive Cautiously, Celebrate Responsibly and Arrive Alive
Increased holiday traffic and unpredictable weather conditions make it more important than ever to tune-up on vehicle preparation and winter driving skills. Forty-one percent of fatal traffic accidents are single vehicle crashes. Accidents occur most often during the late night/early morning hours and the late afternoon hours to drivers who are tired, have consumed alcohol, or both.
These safe driving tips will help protect you when driving your personal vehicle and a commercial truck:
- Before you start your trip, make sure your vehicle is tuned up and in good shape for travel. This is especially important for winter driving conditions.
- Keep headlights and tail lights clean - Dark winter days make it more difficult to see other motorists and pedestrians. Turn headlights on at least a half hour before sunset to increase your visibility and keep windshields and mirrors clean to avoid glare. Don't look directly at oncoming headlights; instead avert your eyes to the right side of the road.
- Put together a driving emergency kit -Carry a blanket, flashlight, candles, matches, jumper cables and a shovel in your trunk. Kitty litter or sand is also useful to gain traction if you happen to get stuck.
- Buckle up - Wear your safety belt properly every time you get behind the wheel, even for short distances. Restrain yourself and your passengers properly in seat belts and car safety seats. Remember, the rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride.
- Be especially careful of parking lots and malls as you make your deliveries- Do not cross through lanes. Drive slowly and be prepared for the unexpected.
- Be aware of distracted drivers - Actions such as cell phone usage, eating/drinking, personal grooming or reading maps can take a driver's attention off the road. Always expect the unexpected and leave yourself room for a way out.
- Keep your speed down - Give yourself plenty of time and distance to react to the traffic around you. Let impatient and aggressive drivers pass you or go through the intersection ahead of you so that you control the situation. Do not pass if you cannot see enough clear road to pass safely.
- Choose a designated driver who will remain alcohol free or use a taxi if you will be drinking at your holiday get-together.
- Stay fresh and alert when driving -Take plenty of breaks and do not push yourself to meet an unrealistic schedule. If you get tired, pull off the road into a truck stop, rest area or business, get some fresh air, buy something to refresh you, or just relax until you feel revived. If that doesn’t work, find a motel where you can spend the night.
- Be flexible in setting your travel plans - Leave early if you can to avoid the peak traffic hours. If snow is predicted during the time you plan to travel, change your schedule. It is better to reschedule your get-together than to risk the lives of traveling family or friends.
- Pull off the road if you must use your cellular phone--Driving requires your full attention.
Important Reminders for CDL Drivers - Alcohol, and the Holidays
Be sure to remind all your truck drivers about the strict consequences of drinking and driving.
According to FMCSA regulations, if a CDL driver is convicted of being under the influence of alcohol as described by state law while operating any type of motor vehicle (including a personal car), they will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year. A second conviction disqualifies the driver from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life.
The rules are simple: No driving while using alcohol or within four hours after using alcohol. Drivers cannot drive with a breath alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or greater. Refusing to submit to an alcohol test or using alcohol within eight hours after an accident, or until tested (for drivers required to be tested) are also prohibited.