15 November 2011
Safety Spotlight
As winter arrives, make safety a top priority

The arrival of fall/winter means that our daylight time has diminished. When leaving work at the end of the day don't just hop in your vehicle and take off without allowing time for your eyes to adjust.

When coming from a well lit office to the reduced light of early evening allow time for your eyes to adjust before beginning the drive home.Leader emphasis on safety during holiday periods is an important part of effective accident prevention. Educate your personnel to wear seatbelts, not to drink and drive, to take rest breaks to mitigate fatigue, to drive defensively, and to obey speed limits.

Driving between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. should be discouraged. This is the time when fatigue strikes with a vengeance and there is an increase in the number of alcohol-impaired drivers on the road.

A drunk driver can kill you no matter how good a driver you are. Ensure you drive defensively and that all vehicle occupants wear seatbelts.Highways are dangerous but they aren't the only hazards that kill and injure. If heat sources such as furnaces, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters are not properly maintained and vented, people can die from flames and toxic gases these create.

Because many people spend a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking the traditional holiday feast, a fire extinguisher is a must-have item.The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, so think safety in your travels. For your family's security, place packages in the trunk and keep a close eye on small children in congested areas.

Winter Driving Tips

1. Scan the Road Ahead This is good advice in any season but in winter it is imperative because it allows you to anticipate trouble and slow down in advance. Pay attention and if you see the vehicles ahead braking or swerving, this indicates there may be ice on the road or even a deer waiting on the shoulder. Remember that stopping distances can be increased by four to ten times when ice or snow in on the road and the best action is to slow down. By scanning the road ahead you can slow down gradually and remain under control.

2. Don't Rely on Technology The perception that all-wheel drive and traction/stability control provide the drivergreater control often times gets drivers into more trouble. All-wheel drive helps you GO but does nothing to improve your braking ability on a slick surface. It is traction that enables a vehicle to Go, Stop and Steer, and by spreading engine power to all four wheels an all-wheel-drive system can improve traction performance during acceleration. When it is time to slow down, much of the all-wheel-drive advantage is gone because the all-wheel-drive system usually adds weight to a vehicle it can actually make stopping harder. There is more mass to the all-wheel-drive vehicle, which can make it harder to control, especially when its limits are exceeded. Electronic safety technologies such as traction control and stability control can help correct driver errors but if the vehicle is traveling too fast for conditions it is going to end up in trouble.

3. Follow the Rule of 1-2-3 When your traction is compromised by driving on slick roads it is impossible to makesudden starts, stops and changes of direction. You must accelerate slowly, allow more time to slow down and come almost to a stop before you can move to the side. It is recommended that when you need to make a turn, count to three. First, brake to an appropriate speed, then release the brakes and steer through the turn, and finally, accelerate only after you have completed the turn.

Quick Tips

* Install winter wiper blades, which have a rubber cover over the steel bow that won't freeze up or clog with ice.

* Keep your headlights cleaned off because dried salt residue on the headlight lenses can reduce the light output.

* Have your battery tested to make sure it is delivering full performance

* Windows Fogging? Turn your air conditioning on along with the defroster- the AC will carry moisture out of the vehicle. Make sure your ventilation system is set to the "fresh air" setting so damp air is exhausted from the car and not just recirculated. Remove snow off your clothes and kick slush off your shoes before you get into the vehicle because melting snow adds humidity to the air and humidity created will fog your window.

* Brush all the snow off your vehicle before driving. Snow left on the hood can blow into your windshield and obscure your vision and sift into the ventilation vents and fog your windshield. Snow blowing off the roof may hit other drivers and distract them. Clear all your windows and mirrors to provide you maximum visibility.

Posted by PAO

For more Fort Detrick News, vist "The Standard"
   - the official newspaper for Fort Detrick.
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