100 Most Dangerous Days; Fleet Safety; Expanded Driver’s Corner

Did you know that the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the most dangerous days to be on the road? In fact, for teen drivers, it’s especially frightening. Statistics from the past five years show that “an average of eight teens were killed in car accidents every single day” during this period.

Driver safety has become one of the top issues of concern for fleets. A recent Automotive Fleet survey lists driver safety as one of the top five challenges facing commercial fleets.

So why are summer months so dangerous for drivers?

Several reasons, including the fact that there are simply more cars on the road in the summer. In the upcoming weekend alone, more than 34 million people are expected to hit the road. There are also more pedestrians and cyclists out in the warmer months, and of course – much to our dismay – road construction increases.*

This week, we’re offering an expanded version of Driver’s Corner, providing several ways to help your drivers stay safe this summer.

Work zone driving tips:
The Missouri Department of Transportation advises using the three “S’s” of managing work zones safely: Speed, Space and Stress. [tips reprinted in their entirety from the MDOT website]

Manage your speed:

  • Slow Down when approaching all work zones. You will be in the work zone quicker than you think.
  • Follow Posted Speed Limits, especially within construction zones, and try to maintain a consistent speed with the traffic flow. And adjust your speed for weather conditions.
  • Don’t Resume Normal Speed until you see roadway signs indicating it’s safe to do so.

Manage your space:

  • Leave Room. Leave adequate braking room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Count out at least two seconds from the time the car ahead of you passes an object and the time your own car passes that object. Also, keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers.
  • Don’t Pass on the Shoulder. Don’t drive across the median. This creates a very dangerous situation for you, construction workers and other motorists – not to mention the steep fine.
  • Leave Yourself an Out. When stopped in traffic, leave a safety zone between you and the vehicle in front of you. A good rule of thumb is that when stopped in traffic you should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of you.
  • Watch Out for Tailgaters. Do not force tailgaters to back off by slamming on your brakes or reducing your speed significantly. This practice can lead to road rage and increases the chances of a collision. When possible, pull over and let them pass. If this is not possible, turn your headlights on and off several times during daylight hours to illuminate your tail lights and warn tailgaters they are too close. If at night, lightly tap your brake pedal to illuminate your brake lights.

Manage your stress:

  • Keep Your Cool. Calm down and don’t rush. Remember, the temporary inconvenience of a construction zone will pay off with greatly improved roads soon.
  • Pay Attention. Avoid cell phone or radio distractions, as well as those of other stopped cars or construction.
  • Expect Delays. Use [your local Department of Transportation website] and other available information to keep yourself informed about construction on your route. Leave a bit earlier, if necessary, to arrive at your destination on time. Consider using an alternate route that bypasses the construction zones.

Driving near pedestrians:
While this may seem obvious, these tips bear repeating [source].

  • Always look closely before turning, especially in neighborhoods.
  • If you see a pedestrian on the side of the road, slow down. You never know when they are going to try and cross the road.
  • Never pass a car that is stopped at a crosswalk. There could be pedestrians crossing that you do not see.
  • Drive slowly in residential areas.

Driving around cyclists:
The video below, created by the League of Illinois Bicyclists, addresses road safety and safe driving practices while approaching or passing cyclists. Always remember to check blind spots, double check when pulling out into the road or making a turn, and check the road before opening your car door. Most important is to remain calm, exercise caution, and be patient and courteous. Sharing the road safely is the best advice here.

Video > http://youtu.be/sct16RKYaQo

Driver’s Corner

Stay safe this weekend, slow down and use caution when driving, and most important, have patience behind the wheel. Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

And Finally…

And finally, as we approach Memorial Day and this first weekend of summer, we’d like to thank all the men and women who serve in the armed forces. When we’re out celebrating with family and friends, perhaps at the first BBQ of the season or attending a parade, it’s important to remember the meaning of this day. Please drive safely this weekend – and all summer – and try to keep in mind those three very important words as your patience may be pushed to the limit: speed, space, and stress.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on May 25, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (www.donlen.com), with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”