Posting this article in lieu of an article from the President.
Five Winter Driving Tips
No one knows how to handle large vehicles in inclement weather better than snow plow operators. The safety precautions these drivers take are appropriate for drivers of any sized vehicle driving on snowy and icy roads. Regardless of the type or size of your fleet, consider these following five tips from Michigan County Road Commission snow plow operators:
- Aim high in steering. Hold the vehicle steering wheel at the 2- and 10-o?clock positions. This allows the driver to keep total control of the vehicle, especially during evasive maneuvering.
- Get the big picture. Look far enough down the road to see hazards before you arrive. This helps you spot problems ahead and on either side of you.
- Keep your eyes moving. Don?t lock onto any one item for too long. Keep scanning from side to side to identify changing conditions.
- Leave yourself an out. Don?t box yourself into a poor situation as you travel. Try to keep other drivers out of your blind spots.
- Make sure they see you. You can generally spot a large vehicle from a great distance. To help make sure they see you, keep your lights and beacons working at all times. Take extra precaution by lightly tapping on the horn to make eye contact with the driver.
In addition, drivers are encouraged to:
- Use the three-point contact method when entering and exiting vehicle cabs.
- Wear a seat belt at all times.
- Walk around the vehicle to check side mirrors and lights.
- Make the necessary vehicle adjustments before getting on the road.
- Avoid unnecessary backing maneuvers whenever possible.
FEEDBACK ON THE ABOVE ARTICLE:
I am adding the following information, thanks to feedback from Roger Norris.?? Roger noted that the advice in item?1, above, is outdated information and here is an update:
If you’re a conscientious motorist who still does everything the way your driver’s-ed instructor told you to, you’re doing it all wrong.
For decades, the standard instruction was that drivers should hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions, as envisioned on a clock. This, it turns out, is no longer the case. In fact, driving that way could cost you your arms or hands in particularly gruesome ways if your airbag deploys.
Instead AAA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and many driving instructors now say you should grip the wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock. A few go even further, suggesting 8 and 4 to avoid the airbag mechanism as much as possible, but what formal research has been published on the varieties of hand positions suggests that this may lessen your control of the car.
Safer cars make old-school ways dangerous In its latest guidelines for effective steering, distributed by state and private driving instructors nationwide, the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association advises that “recommendations relative to hand position on the steering wheel have become more flexible.”
As cars have become safer over the years, “the steering wheel and associated mechanisms (have) changed dramatically,” it says, meaning the familiar driving maneuvers “needed to turn the wheel have all changed.” Principal among the changes is the incorporation of airbag modules in the steering column, which are designed to deploy upward to protect your head and chest.
That means the higher up the wheel your hands are, the more likely they are to be directly over the plastic cover when it opens ? that is, when superhot nitrogen gas flashes and inflates the bag at 150 to 250 mph.
Among the injuries the NHTSA reports from improper placement of the hands when an airbag deploys are amputations of fingers or entire hands, traumatic fractures and a particularly stomach-churning injury called “degloving,” which ? trust us ? you definitely don’t want to look up.
AAA says the bags can also slam your hands directly into your head, causing broken noses and concussions.
Experts also say new research in ergonomics suggests that what’s called “parallel position” makes for safer driving in general.
Parallel position “improves stability by lowering the body’s center of gravity and reduces unintended and excessive steering wheel movement which is a primary cause of young driver fatalities,” the Texas Department of Public Safety says.
In plain English, that means “9 and 3,” said Dallas police Sgt. Paul Hinton, who teaches law enforcement officers how to drive safely in emergencies like highway chases or when facing a wrong-way driver.