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Fatigue, Slick Roads, Sun Glare Among Fall Road Hazards

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The start of school is here, and so are the seasonal hazards that increase the risk of truck crashes. Dispatchers, driver managers, and safety personnel should be communicating these hazards to drivers regularly during the fall months. Please take time to review the list of hazards below, and complete the “Call to Action” items to help reduce the risk of crashes.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Remind drivers to expect traffic congestion along bus routes, reduced speed limits in school zones, and the increased risk of pedestrians on or near the roadway. Drivers should be extra vigilant in school zones and bus pickup/drop off areas. Remind them to slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly.

FATIGUE

Shorter days and the end of daylight savings time can disrupt a driver’s circadian rhythm. Most crashes occur in the early morning hours and right after lunch. Remind drivers to get plenty of rest, avoid heavy meals loaded with carbohydrates, and limit caffeinated and sugary drinks, such as coffee and soda.

SUN GLARE

During sunrise and sunset, sun glare can make it difficult to see traffic lights or the vehicle in front. Remind drivers to slow down, maintain proper following distance, and wear sunglasses to reduce glare. If possible, encourage drivers not to drive when sun glare is at its worst.

ROAD OBSTACLES

This time of year brings unique road obstacles, including slow-moving and less-conspicuous vehicles, such as farm equipment on rural roads. Drivers of farm equipment may drive on both the road and shoulder, and can make quick turns or adjustments for road signs, mailboxes, etc. Remind drivers to be patient around farm vehicles and not to pass unless it is safe and legal to do so. Likewise, remind drivers to be on the lookout for animals. If an animal crosses in front of the truck, drivers should slow down and stay in their lane, even if it means hitting the animal to maintain control of the truck.

SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS

When moisture from rain and dew mixes with oils and dust on the road, the surface becomes slippery and decreases traction. Likewise, leaves falling on the road, especially if wet, create adverse road conditions. Remind drivers to observe the proper speed for conditions.

FIRST FREEZE

Colder temperatures bring frost and ice, even black ice. Remind drivers to be cautious when driving on bridges and overpasses because they will freeze before the roadway freezes. Also, drivers should budget enough time for a thorough pre-trip inspection and ensure the windows and mirrors are defrosted and clean before starting the trip.

CALL TO ACTION

•Discuss fall driving hazards with drivers daily.

•Encourage drivers to schedule non-driving time during periods of increased sun glare.

•Educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.

Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other  parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.

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