Encouraging Driver Health & Wellness for Businesses
The most dangerous leg of your employee’s next business trip might be their 4 a.m. drive to the airport. In fact, sleeping five hours or less increases the risk of an accident by four to five times.1 Encouraging the health and wellness of employees, including providing training to help prevent driving while fatigued, is an important part of a company’s vehicle risk management program.
Studies show that 94% of accidents are caused by driver factors.2 Driver fatigue, distraction and sleep apnea can all increase the likelihood of accidents, which can lead to costly workers compensation claims, lost work time and on-the-job injuries and fatalities. Despite advances in technology, drivers remain the most important safety element of any vehicle.
With half of U.S. adults now living with one or more chronic health condition, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and stress,3 driver health and wellness is a growing concern. In particular, obesity, which affects 34%4 of the U.S. population and 53%5 of commercial drivers, is a contributing factor to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects 17-28%6 of commercial drivers and can increase a driver’s likelihood of driving while fatigued or drowsy. The nature of commercial driving can be a high-risk occupation for drivers due to the shift work and long hours, inadequate or irregular sleep, sedentary lifestyle associated with the field and limited nutrition options on the road. Commercial truck drivers may have a 12-19 year reduced life expectancy.7
Fall and winter driving conditions can be prime time for accidents involving skidding or losing control. Ice and snow are common hazards that often come to mind. Fallen leaves, wet roadways and sand and gravel used to treat icy and snowy conditions can also increase the risks of tires losing their grip on the road’s surface. Skidding can lead to a loss-of-control accident, especially when paired with speeding or driving too fast for road conditions.
Whether you have employees driving occasionally for an off-site business meeting or an entire fleet of drivers transporting goods, help keep them and others safe by sharing these precautions to help avoid losing control at the wheel.
An analysis of speed-related crashes by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 45% of fatality crashes and 74% of injury crashes were related to driving too fast for road conditions.1
In ideal driving conditions, the National Safety Council recommends a three-second following distance. Drivers need to allow for more stopping time during adverse weather or driving conditions, such as:
While the winter season is often associated with risky driving conditions, summer has its own risks. From road construction to out-of-town recreational drivers pulling boats and campers, summertime hazards require drivers to be extra alert and share the road.
Vehicle accidents kill more American workers than any type of workplace accident1; in 2014, 35 percent of workplace injuries involved a motor vehicle.2 Since drivers cause more than 90 percent of vehicle crashes3, make sure they are aware of these summer hazards and know how to share the road safely.
“The increased traffic on our roads is an unmistakable hazard of summer driving,” says Daniel Brown, a Travelers Risk Control transportation safety professional. Estimates predict a new record high for vehicle miles traveled in 2016, likely due to low fuel prices and economic activity. This has already led to a 9.3 percent increase in roadway deaths during the first nine months of 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic delays and detours caused by road construction can make traffic snarls worse. It is important for drivers to be patient and alert, and to share the road.
To ensure the highest safety in work zones, drivers should:
As the number of motorcycles on the road increases, so does the opportunity for motorcycle crashes. There are more motorcycles on the road now than a decade ago, with the number of registered motorcycles increasing 45 percent between 2004 and 2013, and the number of motorcyclists more than doubling.4 Make sure everyone in your organization understands the unique hazards that motorcycles present, including the risk of accidents caused by a vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle.
Drivers should consider the following when sharing the road with motorcycles:
Because of the extra dangers motorcycle riding can present, consider a policy that prohibits employees from using motorcycles for business travel. Read More
No house sitter? Smart tech can help keep your house safer. See how the CNET Smart Home®, sponsored by Travelers, helped this man control all of his smart home security tech with one simple command. Read More
Dryers are among the least-discussed fire threats in the home, but can be a major risk when not properly monitored and managed. The National Fire Prevention Association states that from 2010-2014, there were 15,970 home fires each year involving clothes dryers or washing machines and resulting in $238 million per year in direct property damage.
Rather than allowing severe fire threat go unaddressed in your home, you can take mitigation steps.
Understanding the basics of cleaning
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) explained that homeowners need to regularly clean their dryers, following the guidance of user-manuals that come with the appliance. According to the agency, about 34% of all dryer-related house fires are the direct result of not cleaning the equipment properly.
FEMA suggests checking and emptying the lint filter before putting anything into the dryer, and clearing out the vent pipe at least once every three months. Some of the signs that a fire threat might be rising include lint not being caught, clothes taking longer than normal to dry and smells coming from the vent. As a note, you should always refer to your owner’s manual when cleaning the equipment; different dryers will have varied cleaning requirements and best practices.
What’s more, FEMA points out, winter tends to be the most common time of the year for dryer-caused house fires. Read More
For many families, buying fuel for their vehicles plays a major role in determining their monthly budgets. If gasoline prices follow the trends predicted by market experts this is an area that is going to be of growing rather than diminishing concern as 2017 turns to 2018.
While gasoline prices, on the whole, have been dropping since 2014, 2017 has already seen this trend beginning to reverse itself. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the United States is approaching the $2.40 mark. Reformulated premium gas was already near $3 as of the end of August 2017.
According to Market Watch experts, this drift is expected to continue. American drivers can expect to spend an extra $52 billion on gasoline in 2017 over 2016.
Why are fuel prices rising?
The driving force behind this rise in fuel prices is a November decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to curtail production of crude oil by 1.2 million barrels a day (to a ceiling of 32.5 million barrels daily). Other major producers soon followed suit by agreeing to cut their production by 600,000 barrels a day. This, as could have been foreseen, caused a spike in crude oil prices.
How to Save on Gas
There isn’t much that most people can do to combat these changes in the global markets. But there is one way you can minimize their impact on your budget. According to a study performed by GasBuddy, you can reduce your fuel expenditures by simply changing the day of the week on which you buy gas.
This study analyzed three years worth of data collected from 60 million drivers who use the GasBuddy Perfect Pit Stop phone app and found some useful trends.
While there is some variance from state to state and even in some locations within certain states, the best day of the week to fill up your car or truck was Monday. This held true for 23 states as well as for many major metropolitan areas like Seattle, Chicago and New York City. The second best day was Sunday with Tuesday following close behind. Read More
Automobile manufacturers in the U.S. and elsewhere have been highly focused on creating and deploying more advanced safety features in their vehicles. You should take full advantage of all of the safety features available to you.
Check out these five features that may a big difference in protecting you and your family:
1. Lane departure systems
A somewhat new – but increasingly common – safety feature, lane departure systems use a camera to alert drivers when they drift out of their lane. If your car doesn’t already have a lane departure system, a 2014 Consumer Reports article states that anyone can purchase one of these systems for their existing vehicles at a low price. The most advanced systems cost roughly $1,100 and need to be installed by a professional. Once you have the feature, activate it to ensure that you are indeed alerted when you begin to drift, preventing accidents in the process.
2. Forward collision warning
My Car Does What, a nonprofit organization devoted to consumer education for automobiles, notes forward collision warning systems generally use a radar to scan the area ahead of the vehicle while in motion. It will then alert the driver should another car or road block present itself. Nowadays, many of these systems will actually brake for the driver if she or he does not first.
3. Pedestrian detection
Pedestrian detection systems are among the newest safety features and have the ability to stop the car should a person be in the road ahead. True Car, an automobile publication, states drivers will need to have this system activated, and should be prepared for it to kick in when a distracted pedestrian gets in their path. Many car models that came out after 2014 have these systems, so make sure yours is turned on. Read More
Being involved in an auto accident can be a trying experience ‒ mentally, emotionally and financially. Knowing the proper steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a crash can help. Here are six steps to take if you are involved in an accident.
1. Assess the Situation
Auto accidents can range greatly in severity from simple fender benders to those involving serious injuries and property damages. An important first step is to take a moment, calm yourself and assess the situation.
These are all questions that you need to ask yourself before you do anything else.
2. Contact the Authorities
For the sake of safety and to help ensure that your auto insurance claims are processed smoothly, you want to contact the authorities and get them in route as soon as possible.
Some drivers don’t react very well to being involved in an accident and in this age of road rage, it is not a good idea to confront the other drivers involved.
3. Exchange Insurance Information
Once it is safe to do so, exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved. In most states, the police will also be asking for this information to fill out their report, so this is a good time to collect it yourself. Your insurance company will need this information when you file a claim. Read More
Auto accidents are the number-two cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. What is perhaps more alarming is that 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, or road rage, as a contributing factor.
It has reached such proportions that psychiatrists have given it a name – intermittent explosive disorder – and are trying to have it recognized as a mental disorder.
Nearly 80 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in at least one type of aggressive driving. How do you avoid driving aggressively ‒ and keep yourself safe when you encounter road rage?
Avoid setting off other drivers
One of the best ways to deal with a road rage incident is to avoid setting other drivers off to begin with.
Here are several triggers (and good practices to avoid them) that can tend to aggravate other drivers, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:
If someone does something potentially dangerous on the road, try to avoid escalating the situation with your own reaction. Becoming angry or retaliating could easily lead to a very dangerous situation. Read More
When you’re tired, your mind and body both slow down. Your physical coordination is lessened and reflexes are slowed, while your mind has trouble maintaining focus and reacting to complex situations. Driving during this time can be dangerous and can be very much like driving drunk.
Most people believe they’ll know when they’ve become too tired to continue driving safely. But fatigue can creep up on you. Watch out for these nine warning signs that will tell you it is time to pull over to rest.
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe on the road is to get plenty of sleep before getting behind the wheel. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep a night. A growing teenager needs eight or more. Read More