I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My drive to work is short and sweet – very minimal traffic and very few miles. But even with a shorter commute, I have found that the worst way to start a work day is with a phone call from a friend or family member saying, “I am fine, but I can’t say the same for my car.”
Our country is a nation of drivers. According to an American Community Survey, approximately 86 percent of Americans drive to work.
The following Roadway Safety Tips will help keep you safe during your commute no matter how long or short it may be:
1. Focus your attention on driving.
The only thing you should be doing is driving. Put down the breakfast or the makeup and put away the cellphone. Distracted driving is estimated to be a factor in 25% to 50% of all traffic crashes.
2. Keep your distance.
Driving too closely behind the car in front of you will not get you to work any faster. Give yourself room to react. You’ll need it in a crisis.
3. Drive at a speed that is reasonable for conditions.
Speed Limits are posted for ideal driving conditions. When traffic, roadway, weather or visibility conditions are less than ideal, consider driving at a slower speed. Crashes at higher speeds generally cause more severe crashes.
4. Scan your environment.
Be aware of upcoming cross streets and decision points. Spotting a traffic sign or signal early allows you to be prepared to stop.
5. Maintain your vehicle.
See that all cargo is properly secured. Set your temperature controls and pre-set the climate control, radio and CD player prior to driving.
6. Create a “safety cushion” around your vehicle.
When merging into a lane make sure that you expand your “safety cushion” to allow adequate distance and reaction time between your vehicle and the vehicles in front of you.
7. Eliminate blind spots.
Adjust your side and rear-view mirrors in advance of driving to provide as much sight-distance as possible.
8. Know your limitations.
The decreasing daylight means you’ll be commuting in twilight or dark conditions. A driver’s vision, including depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision is affected by darkened conditions.
9. Know your surroundings.
Be aware of trucks and buses as they need more room to turn, change lanes and stop in traffic. Trucks and buses take longer to accelerate from a stop or slowing pace, be patient.
10. Share the road.
When starting from a green light at an intersection, always check one last time to verify that there are no pedestrians crossing or bicyclists in your travel path. Be considerate of other road users.