As another winter storm wallops half the country, let these YouTube videos serve as a reminder to drive carefully on icy and snowy roads.
Unlike other workplaces, the roadway is not a closed environment. Although employers cannot control roadway conditions, they can promote safe driving by providing safety information to workers, well-maintained vehicles and by setting driver safety policies. To protect their employees, employers can follow these and other safe driving tips:
- Assign a key member of the management team, such as the safety and health professional, responsibility and authority to set and enforce a comprehensive driver safety policy;
- Set and enforce mandatory seatbelt use;
- Don’t require employees to drive irregular hours or far beyond their normal working hours;
- Don’t require workers to conduct business on a cell phone or text while driving;
- Develop work schedules that allow employees to obey speed limits and to follow applicable hours-of-service regulations.
Employers whose employees drive in areas that experience cold and inclement weather should consider equipping each vehicle with a winter storm kit that includes blankets, a flashlight, cell phone with charger and extra batteries, a shovel, first-aid kit, non-perishable food, extra warm clothes and a water container. Hypothermia is a potentially dangerous exposure during extremely cold winter months. People can suffer from hypothermia when they lose body temperature in cold weather as a result of exposure.
- Plan ahead and allow plenty of time to travel. Employers should maintain information on employee driving destinations, driving routes and estimated time of arrivals;
- Maintain safe speeds and safe following distances. Make sure all windows are cleaned off and that snow is removed from headlights and taillights. Avoid over-braking, over-steering and over-accelerating.
- Make sure vehicles are winterized. Before driving have a mechanic look at the battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, tire tread and oil level and carry a windshield scraper for ice and snow removal;
- Check weather conditions from the National Weather Service, which provides weather reports and alerts; and
- Make sure the vehicle has the correct tires for the road conditions.
And if you need a reminder why all of these tips are important, watch a few of these videos.