19.08.2004

Driving Safely - Concentration is Key

Driving seems easy, and today's technology laden vehicles make it seem
increasingly easier. But driving still means facing constant hazards as other
cars, transport trucks, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians compete for the
same road space. It requires skill, sharp instincts, and split-second
decision-making. Anything that takes the driver's attention away from the task - and the road - is dangerous.

Is driving a workplace issue?

Driving is the leading cause of unintentional injury, both in the general
population and in the workplace. Driving is an occupational safety issue for
anyone who drives anywhere in the course of their work duties. A safe driving
policy should be built into the existing health and safety programs and driving
should be included as an important risk to be assessed, controlled, monitored,
measured, reviewed and audited just like any other risk in the workplace.


Employers are responsible for employees when they drive a company or personal
vehicle as a part of their work duties. They can help reduce the risk of
roadway deaths and injuries for employees by ensuring they are properly
licensed to drive, providing safe, well-maintained vehicles, offering driver
training, minimizing irregular work hours or extended workdays (which can
result in fatigued, less-than-alert drivers), and by establishing schedules
that allow drivers to obey speed limits, take activity breaks and be flexible
if weather conditions warrant a slight change of plans.

What is driver distraction?

Driver distraction is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents. The more
people, objects or activities that are around to distract the driver, the
greater the risk. The advent of cellular phones has created a whole new reason
to be cautious - dialing or talking on the phone while driving is never a good
idea. There are, however, several other distractions that affect people's
ability to focus on the road. Reading a map, eating, drinking or smoking,
adjusting the car seat, changing a CD, swatting an insect or engaging in an
animated discussion while driving are all activities that seriously compromise
the safety of everyone in the vehicle.

How to stay focused on the road

As the driver you should resist anything that takes your attention away from
the task of driving safely. Even before starting your car, there are some
distractions you can eliminate with a little preparation:

  • Stow belongings properly.
  • Adjust your seat, mirrors, steering wheel, climate and other controls so
    you won't have to while driving.
  • Select a radio station or have the tape/CD in the player.
  • Plan your route, check the map or read the directions.

Be well rested and alert. One of the greatest hazards of roadway driving is
drowsiness or "highway hypnosis". Lack of sleep or fatigue impact your ability
to safely drive your vehicle. Exercise your eyes by reading road signs or
shifting the focus of your eyes to different parts of the roadway. Do not
consume alcohol, drugs, medications or other substances that may affect your
driving. Lastly, leave your problems and stresses outside the car ­ and
concentrate!

Further information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work