Driving Preparedness: Ways to Keep You Safe on the RoadSafety
By Jeremy Nofsinger, Lead Consulting Utility Forester, CN Utility Consulting
Driving conditions for any citizen can be challenging. As arborists, we’re frequently on the road, dealing with many driving challenges for sometimes several hours each day. Delayed railroad intersections, tolled interstates, pedestrian-crowded suburban cities, merging vehicles, stop-and-go traffic, multiple one-way streets, busy school zones, impaired drivers, loud construction sites, slow funeral processions, adverse weather conditions – each situation requires focus on the road and special attention to our surroundings. We must be prepared for the unexpected while driving during our commute and working on a job site to ensure that our safety and that of others is kept intact.
With a wild world out there, we must be prepared for anything. The main way to protect yourself and others is to abide by all safety laws and drive defensively! Here are a few tips to improve your driving safety.
Before Starting Your Car
- Conduct a 360 walk-around on your vehicle to ensure the equipment and materials are in the proper place and there are no visible or potential issues.
- Check your vehicle’s well-being by looking at the diagnostic report that shows up in your dashboard, including tire pressure, engine temperature and more. Schedule maintenance regularly and do not rely only on your vehicle’s oil change schedule.
- Make phone calls prior to departure, or set up hands-free device.
- Eat, drink, and groom yourself prior to departing for your trip or after you arrive at your destination. Check the forecast and traffic updates prior to departure.
- Secure your kids in proper seating, and ensure your pets are in proper travel restraints. Pets should not be on your lap or roaming freely.
Avoid Complacency While Driving
- Perhaps your commute is the same drive each day. To avoid daydreaming and distractions, change your routine by listening to a new radio station.
- Keep your eyes focused on the road in front of you, and check both your side mirrors and rear-view mirror often for a comprehensive view of your surroundings.
- It is important to abide by speed limits, avoid cutting corners too tight or avoid merging too close to other vehicles.
Consider Alternate Routes and Prevent Accidents
- Try scheduling your drive to avoid school zone drop off jams.
- When there are drastic weather changes, exit the interstate and seek shelter instead of continuing to drive.
- Turn on your flashers to warn cars behind you that traffic is stalled ahead. This can prevent cars from rear-ending you.
- Sometimes it is safer to park your vehicle and walk around a construction zone to notify tree work than try to drive through it.
Safe driving begins with you! We can’t anticipate everything, but proper planning can make a difference.