Stale Green Light

A stale green light means that the green traffic light cycle has almost ended and will change to yellow at any moment. One way to tell if it is a stale green is to look at the pedestrian crossing light, if it is flashing "do not walk" or is solid "do not walk" it could be a stale green. When you first notice the light it is green, proceed to slow down. If you did not see it change to green, you don't know how long it has been green and it could change at any time.

Tornado Safety

One of the most important things you can do to prevent being injured in a tornado is to be alert to the onset of severe weather. Most deaths and injuries happen to people who are unaware and uninformed. Those who ignore the weather because of indifference or overconfidence may not perceive the danger. Stay aware and you will stay alive!

If you are in a building seek the lowest level of the building and the smallest enclosed room of that level. If there is a basement, head to there and stay away from the windows. If no basement is available, bathrooms, interior closets, or interior hallways are the best places to be.

If you are driving and there is a tornado watch, be alert to the possibility and pull over to a safe, legal place if needed. If there is a tornado warning in your are and it is safe to do so, pull over to a safe, legal place until the threat is over. If you see a tornado, do not try to drive out of it. Pull off the road and get out of your vehicle and into a low ditch.

PASS

If you must use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS to use it correctly.

P - pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to operate the extinguisher.

A - aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important. To put out the fire, you must extinguish the fire at the source.

S - squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher.

S - sweep from side to side. Move the fire extinguisher back and forth across the base of the fire until it has been completely extinguished. Stand a safe distance away, and as the fire begins to recede, more forward.

After a fire has been extinguished, do not immediately leave the scene. Instead, monitor the area for a few minutes to ensure that the fire does not re-ignite.

Road Construction

With the weather warming in the northern states it brings with it spring, summer and that dreaded 5th season - road construction!
Slow down in work zones. Watch out for highway construction. Stay Alert. Work zone crashes are more likely to happen during the day. Almost one-third of fatal crashes in work zones involve large trucks. Take your time going through work zones and give yourself plenty of room. Expect the unexpected!

Lifting

Bending your knees is perhaps the single most important rule when lifting moderate to heavy objects. Take a tip from professional weight lifters. They can lift tremendous amounts of weight because they lift with their legs, not their backs. When lifting a crate or a box, your feet should be placed close to the object. Center yourself over the load, then bend your knees and get a good hand hold. Lift straight up, smoothly. Allow your legs to do the work, not your back.

Managing your space to avoid a rear-end collision

When driving, you must constantly search the area around your vehicle for potential hazards. You're looking at other vehicles and trying to determine what they're doing, what they're about to do and what they may do. Continuously scan your mirrors and surroundings, evaluate the driving environment and execute the necessary changes in response.

Scan:
Divide the area surrounding your vehicle into six zones:
Front
Left front
Right Front
Rear
Left rear
Right rear
Look at your target area. Look at your front, left front and right front zones. Be aware of possible problem areas such as merging lanes, intersections, or driveways. Check your rear zones. Check your front zone again. Check your speed. Repeat. Check each area for a short period of time. Your eyes should be constantly moving.

Evaluate:
While scanning, evaluate each zone to determine which ones are open, closed, or changing. The goal is to always leave at least one open zone - leave an out. If you find a zone to be closed or changing, make sure you evaluate other zones for possible closed or changing conditions that might affect the action you wish to execute.

Execute:
Executing requires that you adjust speed and determine lane position. These decision should be based upon your evaluation. Remember that you will be making these adjustments continuously.
The safest place when driving is the place with fewest vehicles. Try to keep as much space between you and the surrounding vehicles as possible. You should attempt to determine what other drivers are going to do and to leave space to escape if a dangerous situation arises.
Speed control is your best friend when it comes to driving safely. If there is an obstacle in your path, a change in speed should be your first response.

Speed Adjustments:
By controlling your speed, you can control the space between your car and other cars or obstacles. If a car or obstacle moves dangerously close, reduce your speed. Take your foot off the accelerator and cover the brake.

Remember - you are responsible for maintaining control of your vehicle at all times.

 

Intersection Safety

More vehicle crashes happen at an intersection than other place on the road. You need to be very cautious when approaching an intersection. When you approach an intersection, first you need to slow down (not when you're already crossing it.) As you slow down and approach the intersection, look both ways and be ready to stop.

When you approach an intersection controlled by a traffic light, you must always be prepared to stop. If you do not witness the traffic signal change from red to green, then you must slow down and prepare to stop. When at an intersection where a red changes to green, always wait to ensure the intersection is clear of all traffic and pedestrians before proceeding. Look left, look right and look left again to be certain that cross traffic has stopped.

ROLLOVERS

Today's trailers are constructed with more aluminum and lighter metals on the frame, axles, and rims to allow for more freight. It also means you have considerable more weight above the deck than below.

This creates a top heavy condition. Air bags will also give 10% on turns. With a top heavy trailer, wind and air bags adding 10% of leaning going into a curve, your chances for a rollover are greatly increased. To reduce your risk, always approach turns and ramps 5-10 MPH under the speed limits in adverse conditions, including wind and rain.

Michigan Seasonal Weight Restrictions

This past week brought unseasonably warm temperatures to Michigan. This also means several counties enacted seasonal weight restrictions.

By law, road agencies can enact weight restrictions on any roads not designed as “all season” roads.  All season roads are much thicker and designed to allow trucking year around.

Seasonal weight restrictions lower axle-loading limits and reduce maximum travel speeds for certain vehicles.  See MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE Act 300 of 1949 for details about seasonal weight restrictions and their effect on axle loading and speed limits.

For a map of counties with restrictions in effect and for more information, please visit http://micountyroads.org/Doing-Business/Seasonal-Weight-Restriction

 

Left turns

Here are some tips on how to safely make a left turn:

As you approach turn with signal on, watch for drivers who may misinterpret this signal as an intention to turn somewhere before your intended turning point.
Don't start turning until there is enough time for the rear of the vehicle to clear the intersection without forcing opposing drivers to slow down or swerve.
Don't assume opposing driver will see you. They may be looking elsewhere.
Be careful that improper tracking does not cause the vehicle or trailer to interfere with pedestrians and other vehicles.

USING & CHANGING LANES

The most important rule in lane usage is maintain a safe following distance. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, always maintain at least 7 seconds of following distance. Scan ahead of what is immediately in front of you. If you see trouble ahead, flash your brake lights to alert drivers following you. If you cannot see ahead of the vehicle you are following, increase your following distance. You may think blind spots on large vehicles are well known. However, automobile drivers may not know you cannot see them as they pass you. Scan thoroughly before steering into the next lane. Give right of way, don't take it. Clean mirrors and check adjustment frequently.

See a Drunk Driver? Call 911

If you see a suspected drunk driver, call 911. Give them the plate #, a description of the vehicle and location.

How do you identify a drunk driver? Watch for the following driving behaviors.

Turning with a wide radius; you may see a driver who swings out wide to make a turn that would otherwise be easily maneuvered.

Straddling center of lane marker - an impaired driver will use the line to help them concentrate on driving straight, not realizing they are driving down the middle of the road.

Appearing to be drunk - hunched over the wheel or leaning to the side.

Almost striking a vehicle or object.

Weaving - you do not have to cross a line to weave. Officers have state they have pulled over a number of drivers who were weaving in their lane.

Driving on other than designated highway; sidewalks, grassy lots, any surface can be viewed as road to someone who is drunk or impaired.

Swerving.

Speed more than 10MPH below limit. It is a common myth that impaired drivers are usually speeding. Most drunk or impaired drivers will actually slow down while they try to concentrate on staying within their lane.

Stopping without cause in the traffic lane; the drunk or impaired driver may stop at an unmarked intersection or at a green light. In their impairment they are being overcautious and are easily confused on when and where to stop.

 

The Bad Habits That Lead to Accidents

The National Safety Council determined six improper driving habits that commonly result in accidents. In fact they are tied to 77% of all accidents. What are they?

Speeding

Right-of-way violations

Poor lane control (drifting over the lines or improper lane changes)

Improper passing

Improper turns

Tailgating

Remember - these are not just habits to avoid, but look for others on the road doing one of these. It's your early sign that you need to put space between you and them!

 

10 Tips to Prevent Road Rage

  1. Don't retaliate. Never take the other driver personally, he/she is only reacting on a road rage instinct.
  2. Don't make eye contact with an angry driver.
  3. Before you react to anything that is done to you please ask yourself, "Is getting back at this person worth my life?"
  4. Be polite and courteous, even when others are not.
  5. Always ask yourself, "Could the other driver have possible made a mistake?"
  6. If you are harassed by another driver and being followed, do not go home. Go to the nearest police department.
  7. Slow down and relax!
  8. Never underestimate other drivers capacity for mayhem.
  9. Reduce your driving stress by allowing enough time to get where you are going. Know the roads that are under construction and listen to weather reports that may cause traffic delays. Practice patience and keep your cool.
  10. Remember that you cannot control the drivers around you, but you can control the way they affect your well-being. Be calm and drive safely.

Winter Driving Tips

Did you know? You should reduce your speed by 1/3 on wet roads and by 1/2 or more on snow packed roads. If you would be normally be traveling at a speed of 60 MPH on dry pavement, then on a wet road you should reduce your speed to 40 MPH, and on a snow-packed road you should reduce your speed to 30 MPH. When you come upon slick, icy roads you should drive slowly and cautiously and find a safe place to park if you can no longer safely control the vehicle.

Winter Driving Tips

Traction

  • To keep your grip, start off slow and easy. Different surfaces have different amounts of traction. If there is ice or packed snow, about 80% of the traction is lost. Slick roads - due to rain, sleet, ice , or snow - will cause the drive wheels to spin easily. This will result in less traction and you will have less control over your vehicle.
  • As your increases in speed your traction DECREASES. When traction is poor for an reason you must ALWAYS SLOW DOWN!
  • When driving in near freezing rain, feel for ice along the front of the mirror. If ice is there, it may also be on the surface of the road.

Holiday Accidents

Many families will decorate their home for the holidays this weekend. It's often small decisions - a candle left burning, a dry Christmas tree or a child left alone even for a moment - that could have life changing consequences. When it comes to holiday dangers, the numbers are more startling that you think:

  • Each year, fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of more than 400 Americans, injure 1650 more, and cause more than $990 million in damage
  • Candle-related fires are one of the most common holiday home hazards, averaging more than 15,000 each year, resulting in 166 deaths, nearly 13,000 injuries and $450 million in direct property damage. Do not leave a candle burning unattended - and never leave one burning while you are sleeping.
  • About 5,800 people - two to three every hour - are treated in emergency departments for fall related injuries sustained while decorating during holiday seasons. Use study step stools and ladders and wear proper footwear to hang those Christmas lights.
  • Christmas trees, both natural and artificial, were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 250 reported home structure fires per year during 2003-2007. These fires caused an estimated average of 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in direct property damage per year. Check all your lights, cords and plugs as you are decorating your tree this year. If you have a natural tree be sure to keep it watered to reduce the fire risk.

By taking these simple steps, you can help change these statistics.

 

Holiday Traffic

This holiday week has long been known to be the most traveled of the year. As the traffic on the road increases so do the risks of aggressive driving and road rage. Anxiety and frustration can quickly spark an aggressive or careless driver who tailgates, speeds, and fails to yield the right of way, among other behaviors.

Experts recommend the following tips to help avoid road conflicts:

  • Plan your route in advance. Some of the most erratic and inconsiderate driving occurs when motorists are lost.
  • Make conscious decision not to take your problems with you when you are driving.
  • Combat the warning signs of stress by getting fresh air and breathing deeply and slowly. Listen to relaxing music.
  • Before and during a long drive avoid heavy meals which tend to make a person lethargic.
  • Drive in a courteous and considerate manner. Give way at busy intersections and where traffic lanes merge.
  • Don't compete or retaliate. If someone's driving annoys you, don't try to "educate them." Leave traffic enforcement to the police.
  • Don't take other driver's mistakes personally.
  • Avoid honking your horn unless absolutely necessary and, if you must, tap on it lightly.
  • If you are being physically threatened, stay in your vehicle and lock the doors. Use your horns and light to attract attention. Call the police.

Do your part to keep the roads safe so everyone can make it to their holiday destination.