Safety Newsletter – March 2023
Preventing Lane Change Collisions
Lange change collisions make up a large number of motor vehicle crashes simply because drivers on the road are making numerous lane changes, every day. There are two leading factors that contribute to all lane change crashes: frequent lane changing, and blind spots.
Below are some tips on how to avoid these types of crashes:
1. Signal Lane Change Intentions Well in Advance
In general, when wanting to make a lane change, commercial truck drivers need to communicate with other motorists on the road by using their turn signal at least eight to ten seconds prior to making the lane change. Also, blind spots must be continually checked, before and during the lane change.
2. Use the “Lean and Look” Method
This method creates a suitable environment for safe lane changes, especially right lane changes where the blind spot creates an issue. Here are the steps:
- Signal your lane change intentions well in advance
- Check all mirrors to ensure no vehicles are sighted
- Lean and look to the right (this is the conventional practice) or lean forward a take a direct look to the right to ensure the lane is clear. Doing this will ensure the front right blind spot is not occupied by another vehicle.
- Move your tractor and trailer to the right while periodically looking (by looking down and to the right).
3. Properly adjust and clean mirrors before driving
As part of the pre-trip inspection, driver should properly adjust and clean all mirrors. It is also highly recommended that fender mounted mirrors be installed on the truck, to gain maximum visibility.
4. Always maintain a minimum 6 second following distance
Lane change accidents often occur when a driver is forced to quickly change lanes to avoid hitting another vehicle ahead. Drivers should always observe the “six second” rule, observe the posted speed limits, and stay in the right lane as much as possible to avoid having to change lanes.
Proper Lifting Techniques
When it’s finally time to load or unload your haul, make sure you’re lifting correctly to avoid injuries. Regardless of the weight of an object, improper lifting techniques can cause a serious injury. These injuries happen when we bend at the waist to pick something up. Bending at the waist causes injuries because the back is not a lifting device, but when we bend at the waist to pick something up, we’re forcing our back to lift it. These injuries can last a lifetime. Sometimes they require surgery.
The Steps to Safe Lifting
- Prepare to lift the object. Square yourself with what you’re going to lift. Place your feet shoulder- width apart. Stand close to the object.
- Bend at the knees. Avoid bending at the waist.
- Get a firm grip on the object.
- Tighten your core muscles.
- Lift with your back and shoulders straight, not hunched over.
- Let your legs do most of the work when you pick something up.
- Stay square with the object. Do not twist at the waist while lifting or carrying.
More Tips for Safe Lifting
- When lifting overhead, don’t let your shoulders creep up to your ears. Keep them down.
- When pushing a load, keep your shoulders level and bend your legs.
- When something is overhead, use a stool or ladder to reach it.
- For heavier objects, work in two-person teams
- Carry long objects on your shoulder.
- Follow proper body mechanics for setting an object down. Setting something down is just picking it up in reverse. Bend at the knees and stay square with it while you set the object down. The risk for injury is the same.