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Driver Presenteeism and Vehicle Preventative Care Be at your best to avoid behind the wheel “presenteeism” Take Pride in yourself and your unit! Presenteeism When employees show up for work even if they are too sick, stressed, or distracted to be productive. WHAT IS ACTIVE DRIVING • Presenteeism has been estimated to cost employers $63 billion in lost productivity. Presenteeism behind the wheel — there in body but not in mind — can cost more than big dollars. • A recent study found that “mind wandering” was responsible for nearly 50% of crashes where the driver was at fault. • The data is clear—virtually all studies have concluded that manipulating a hand-held device while driving (eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind focused on activities unrelated to driving) leads to less safe driving. • Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs for common ailments, including allergies, colds, depression, muscle pain, anxiety disorders and high blood pressure can cause drowsiness, slow reaction time and impair vision and coordination. Think about more than the drive Minimizing distractions. Resisting activities unrelated to driving that take your eyes or mind off of the road and your hands off the wheel. • Being alert and clear-headed. Unimpaired by alcohol, over-the-counter or prescription medication and well- rested prior to getting behind the wheel. • Frequently scanning your mirrors. Many fleet safety programs recommend a “full mirror sweep” every 5-6 seconds. If a vehicle suddenly appears in one of your mirrors without you noticing its approach, you’ll know you are not shifting your eyes frequently enough Watching your Speed Maintaining a proper following distance. On clear, dry roads, your following distance should be 3-4 seconds — double or triple if roads are wet or slippery, keeping in mind that in some cases it’s best to stay off the roads until conditions improve. Scanning ahead Looking down the road ahead of you for a distance of 10 seconds. In the city, that’s about one block and, on the highway, it’s about 1/3 of a mile or 4 city blocks. Proven Brain Fuel for Driving • To help employees think “water” vs. coffee or caffeinated soda when they need an energy boost, we’ve provided graphics that can be used to customize water labels for both 16.9 oz and 8 oz bottle sizes. A quick online search will help you locate service providers to print labels. Alternatively, you could print signage to place near water coolers, drinking fountains, the cafeteria, break rooms or for employee desks. Seems simple how many do it? JUST BREATHE… If you find yourself rushed and stressed and you’re about to be behind the wheel, take a few minutes for some deep breaths to re-center your focus before-hand. Deep breathing is one of the easiest ways to lower stress. Try it — it really works. Warm up the body before you warm of the vehicle, increase your blood flow and alertness levels Break Time before the Breakage Time Taking time to recharge. If driving a long distance, it is recommended you take a break every two hours or 250 km, even if you don’t feel you need one. If after two hours of steady driving you don’t feel you need a break, this may be a strong sign that you are not actively engaged in your driving. STAY WELL-OILED Regardless of your age, initiating a regular stretching routine is a good idea. Driving is a physical task that requires flexibility and limbering up helps your entire body to move more freely, allowing you to observe the road from all angles. This can help you spot potential hazards on the road and assist with critical driving maneuvers such as hard braking and quick steering. Staying loose will also increase comfort on long drives, and can help ward off fatigue, helping to improve reaction time and allowing you to be better focused. Fuel your Body Like you Fuel your Vehicle Fatigues Management is just as important as Journey Management • There are periods of the day when we are most likely to feel sleepy — mid-afternoon from 2pm to 5pm and from midnight to 6am1 • Choosing to snack strategically can help sustain energy and avoid sudden “crashes”, although it is not a substitute for getting the 7.5–8 hours of recommended sleep each night. • One in seven non-exercisers (14%) reports having trouble staying awake while driving, eating or engaging in social activity, almost three times the rate of those who exercise. • If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep. Top of the Tank be Happy! Foods with a high-glycemic index will often provide a quick energy boost shortly followed by a drop in energy, leaving you more sluggish than you were to begin with. Snacking strategically during the “afternoon slump” can be an effective way to maintain your energy and to support peak performance both on-and-off the road. Check out the Ergonomic Room • The right posture is key. The best angle for the back of your seat is 100°, just shy of straight. Place your hands in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel and position your seat so there are 10 inches (25.4 cm) of space between the steering wheel and your chest. This should be close enough so that you’re not leaning forward, but far enough to allow for safe airbag deployment; • Support your lower back. Adjust the seat’s lumbar support to fill the space at your lower back. If driving a vehicle not equipped with lumbar support, a small pillow or rolled towel placed against the bottom part of your seat back will maintain the right shape for support; • Support your head. When properly adjusted, your vehicle’s head restraint works in tandem with the seat belt and can help prevent neck, brain and spinal cord injuries in the event of a collision. Whether you are the driver or a passenger, follow these guidelines for a proper fit. Position the top of the head restraint so it is in a straight line with the top of your head. • The center of your head restraint should be slightly above the top of your ear. • The distance between the head restraint and the back of your head should be between 2-4 inches (5-10 cm). Even if you have 20/20 vision, environmental conditions can affect the ability to see clearly. Experts say the sun is one of the most overlooked driving hazards. Glare from the sun can reduce vision and cause a serious safety issue. Be aware that the periods of dangerous sun glare typically coincide with heavy commuting time. You gotta wear shades. Wearing sunglasses can help you manage early morning and late day glare. Brown and bronze lenses are best at enhancing contrast and depth perception. Polarized glasses are also excellent for driving. Clean Windows Be sure you do windows. It is always a good idea to keep your windshield clean and streak- free, but it is more critical in high-glare conditions. Regularly wipe down both the inside and outside of the windshield. Slow down When driving at night and anytime your vision is reduced, slow down and increase your following distance. Mirror and Blind Spots While all blind spots cannot be eliminated, properly positioned mirrors are the key to maximizing your field of vision. To set your mirrors, with the vehicle safely parked, sit in the normal driving position and center the rearview mirror. Next, lean your head about 4” to the left and adjust the driver’s side view mirrors until you can barely see the edge of the rear of your vehicle in the mirror. Do the same thing for the passenger side mirror by leaning 4” to the right. While you won’t see your vehicle in your side view mirrors when sitting in the normal driving position, this mirror adjustment will enable you to see more of the adjoining traffic lanes, as well as hazards next to the vehicle. Even with properly adjusted mirrors, you should always glance over your shoulder to check blind spots any time you turn, merge or change lanes Reduce vision just like a setting or rising sun. Rain already creates a hazard by making roads slippery, and it also amplifies the glare from headlights, streetlights and signs — a dangerous combination. Slow down and increase your following distance, and if you can’t see clearly, pull over until conditions improve. DIFFERENT VISION ISSUES CAN AFFECT YOUR DRIVING Distance vision • Good distance vision allows you to see down the road and gives you time to adjust more gradually to your speed or change lanes. The sooner you can identify a potential hazard, the sooner you can react to it. This is particularly true when traveling on the highway where higher speeds increase the distance needed to slow or stop your vehicle. Distance vision also enables you to easily read street signs when navigating unfamiliar roads and helps avoid hard braking or sudden stops that can result in a crash. Field of vision (peripheral) The ability to see to both sides is important. You need to be able to see cross traffic, pedestrians, and animals at the roadside, without having to look away from the road ahead. Even with mirrors positioned properly, vehicles have blind spots, and reduced peripheral vision can extend them. Very common Very Dangerous Accommodation (near-vision focusing) • When driving, you need to look from the road to the dashboard and back again quite often. This ability to change focus from far to near is accommodation, and a problem in this area could slow your reaction time to potential hazards. Night vision • You need to be able to see in low and variable light conditions and recover quickly from the glare of oncoming headlights. Night vision changes as we age and commonly becomes a debilitating issue for older drivers. What Color was that? Depth Perception • Our ability to visually perceive depth and distances comes from the fact that we have two eyes. Many vision problems involve some type of disturbance to a person’s “binocular” vision. This is often accompanied by difficulties with a host of visual skills, including tracking, focusing, and, perhaps most importantly for driving, depth perception. Poor depth perception can have an effect on several areas of driving including parking, judging following distances and stopping at intersections. Your Mobile Palace May have a Problem • You may hear a squeaking or squealing noise. This is an early sign of a problem with your brake pads and should not be ignored. By the time you hear a grinding noise, you may have worn through your brake pads and into the rotors, which is a more serious and costly issue. • You may notice it takes longer to stop your vehicle. • You may smell something “hot” or burning after you park your vehicle, which could be an indication of a brake pad sticking. • You may feel that the pedal is hard to depress or is not returning to its normal position. • You may feel a vibration when stopping or you may feel the vehicle pulling to the right or the left. • You may see fluids leaking near your tires — this could be brake fluid. • If you see, hear, feel, smell an issue CHECK IT! Running on Air or Good Luck GET A GRIP ON TIRE CARE • Check tire pressure monthly. Properly inflated tires not only enhance safety, they also improve fuel efficiency by roughly 3% — a significant savings at today’s fuel prices. • The recommended tire pressure from your vehicle manufacturer is located on a sticker inside the driver’s door opening, not on the tire. • Recommended tire pressure is based on “cold” tires — three or more hours since the vehicle has been driven. For the most accurate reading, check tire pressure before you drive since pressure increases as tires warm up. • The “Max Load/Max Pressure” is not the pressure at which the tire will burst. Instead, increasing pressure beyond this point results in no additional load-carrying capacity beyond that stated. • Unless it is nearly flat, a visual inspection will not show you if the tire is low on air. When checking tire pressure, visually inspect for bulges, cracks or objects that may have pierced the tread. Amazing all the tire pressures on the weekly sheet are the same It not if the question is when FLATS HAPPEN • Even if you do everything right to take care of your tires, you still may someday end up with a flat tire. If you are truly prepared, you’ve got a tire emergency plan: • Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and your vehicle jack is in working order. • Decide in advance if you will change your own tire or rely on a roadside service provider. • If you are going to change the tire yourself, make sure you are familiar with the process as outlined in your vehicle owner’s manual. The first concern is safety and you should only attempt to change a tire if you know how and are in a safe location. • If you are going to rely on a road service provider, make sure you have the right phone number and a way to call them. Many newer vehicles have built-in technology and subscription services that can summon assistance with just the touch of a button. SECURE THE CARGO • Begin each trip by securing the most important cargo—yourself and your passengers. Always BUCKLE UP—It’s the most important thing you can do to prevent injury in a crash. • Think of everything in your vehicle as a potential projectile in the event of a crash and you’ll see anything you choose to carry in a whole new light. • Be sure to utilize all secured storage spaces, such as your glove box, front armrest and center console compartments; keep your dash clear. • Utilize compartments such as seat-back and door pockets. • Whenever possible, heavy items such as luggage, tools and even laptops should be stored in the trunk if you have one. Nets, straps and bungee cords should be used to secure large or heavy items in company vehicle. • Try to avoid packing above the line of the seat backs. As well as obscuring the view, anything packed higher than this may fly forward in a crash or after sudden/emergency braking, potentially causing head injury. General Housekeeping Is Mandatory CLEAR THE CLUTTER • Each time you fill up with gas, use that time to toss the trash and clean out the cup holders. • Make a habit of removing unnecessary items from the vehicle once per week. Choose a week day when you know you will have some extra time, and commit to clearing out unnecessary cargo upon parking at home or at designated overnight lodging stops. Your mind will stay better focused on your driving if your body is properly fit to a clean, organized vehicle with a clear field of vision.
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