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Employee Safety

Advanced Driving Skills

Today’s vehicles have more safety features built into it than the cars of yesteryear. Some of the features are front and side airbags, lap and shoulder seat belts, power steering, disc brakes, power brakes, anti-lock braking system, energy absorbing bumpers, reinforced side panels, safety windows and safety windshields. Despite all these improvement, the number of auto accidents and fatalities nationwide is still quite staggering: In 2012, there were almost 6 million car accidents in the U.S., leading to more than 35,000 deaths. What's more, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of three and 34 in this country.

While technological improvements will make the car safer to drive, the bottom line remains that most car accidents are the result of human error. The best way to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident is to develop, practice, and maintain safe driving behaviors.

Here are 10 driving tips that will help you transport your family, friends, and passengers safely.

  1. Keep Your Vehicle Safe.
    Regular maintenance will keep your car in safe operating condition while you are on the road.
  2. Practice Advanced Driving Skills.
    Advanced Driving Skills involve and , not only maintaining a safe distance, driving at safe speeds, remaining calm, but is accepting small delays and yielding to other cars, even if you technically have the right of way.
  3. Watch Out for Others
    Don't focus only on the car in front of you, but look ahead so you can see what's happening 15 seconds up the road. Also look around you for pedestrians, children, and animals that may run out into the traffic.
  4. Don't Follow Too Closely.
    Whether you use a 3-second rule or a 4-second rule to estimate a safe distance between you and the car ahead, it is important that you have enough time to react if that car makes a sudden turn or stop. Be sure to add more space when driving in inclement weather or at night.
  5. Be Extra Careful in Bad Weather.
    If you're driving through fog, heavy rain, a snow storm or on icy roads, be extra cautious. Drive below the speed limit, maintain extra space, and be especially careful around curves. If the weather worsens, drive the care to a safe place to wait out the storm.
  6. Wear Your Seat Belt.
    Seat belts prevent you from being thrown around the inside of a crashing vehicle or, worse, thrown through the windshield and flung completely out of the vehicle. Seat belts also save lives. Half of all accident fatalities were people who weren't using seat belts and a staggering 70 percent of fatal crash victims between the ages of 13 and 15 weren't wearing seat belts.
  7. Don't Drive Drowsy.
    If you're driving and feel the least bit groggy, take action immediately. Have a friend take over behind the wheel, find a rest area where you can catch a few hours of sleep, or take a break until you're feeling more alert.
  8. Avoid Distractions.
    Talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, applying makeup, diverts a driver’s attention from the traffic and hazards on the road. A recent University of Utah study showed that the use of hand-held and the use of hands-free talking are equally distracting and that the reaction time of a driver talking on a cell phone is equivalent to a legally intoxicated driver.
  9. Don't Speed.
    Research has shown that for every mile per hour (mph) you drive faster, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent. Driving 10 mph faster than the speed limit is only going to save you a few minutes -- while increasing your crash risk by as much as 50 percent.
  10. Don't Drive Drunk.
    More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.

Resources

  • Advanced driving skills courses are available through the HRS Conference Center [link to the HRS Conference Center]. Please check their schedule for the next available class.
  • Advanced driving skills classes for your Agency/Department or work site can be arranged through the Risk Management Unit. Please contact Alma Balmes, Risk Analyst / Safety Program Manager at 510-272-6698 or tie-line 2-6698.

On-line Resources

  • On-lines courses on driving for law enforcement and general employees are available through Target Safety.
  • On-line California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation’s “Motor Vehicle Safety Program” (PDF - 135kb)* fact sheet

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