One of the biggest workplace safety tips a company specializing in transportation of goods should be aware of is to keep a close eye on its employees—especially those who drive for a living.
Approximately 100,000 automobile crashes reported to the police each year are directly related to drive fatigue, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses—many of which are a product of workers compensation claims.
These statistics, however, are difficult to gauge because currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness. What isn’t difficult to comprehend is the many ways that drowsy driving can be prevented.
Don’t Let Drowsy Driving Jeopardize Company Safety, and Your Bottom Line
In the automobile and transportation industry there is the expectation of just in time shipping schedules and around-the-clock work cycles—two factors that make driver fatigue all too common within the industry today.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that being sleepy while driving can have a serious affect on your ability to drive safely, even if you don’t feel tired and don’t fall asleep. Drowsy driving does the following:
- Makes drivers less attentive.
- Slows reaction time.
- Affects a driver’s ability to make decisions.
The key to staying safe while driving during a long duration, or at odd hours of the night, is having the discipline to know when to stop when you’re feeling drowsy. Some good tips to follow include:
- Get a good night’s sleep before you drive.
- Don’t drive during your normal sleeping hours, if you can help it.
- If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to pull over off the road and take a nap.
- Book overnight accommodations or plan for highway rest areas when driving long distances or late at night.
- Don’t eat large meals before getting behind the wheel.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Don’t take medication prior to driving.
- Keep your vehicle interior fairly cool with plenty of fresh air.
- Make stops frequently to readjust and stretch.
- Listen to your radio, tape or CD player to keep you attentive.
- Maintain constant vigilance on the road ahead of you, as well as in your rear-view.
Lastly, the most important thing to combat drowsy driving is knowing the warning signs. The following are common signs that you may be getting too tired to drive:
- Yawning or blinking frequently.
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven.
- Missing your exit.
- Drifting from your lane.
- Hitting a rumble strip.
If you’re feeling drowsy, remember that the only true substitute for sleep is sleep. While short-term measures may seem helpful, they only help you stay alert for a short time. Eventually you will need to get some sleep.
At NARFA, we strongly believe that eliminating workplace safety hazards related to driving drowsy while on the job can help you protect your employees as they work, as well as others on the road. Additionally, the safer your employers are, the more likely you are to avoid unnecessary workers compensation claims against your company.
Contact us to learn more about what other benefits administration services and employee benefit solutions we offer for automotive, roads, and fuel associations, or to hear more about the culture of company safety that we cultivate as part of our AICC worker’s compensation coverage program. And don’t forget to stay connected with our Health & Wellness Safety Tips—we’re always adding more tips to help you and your employees create workplace safety.