Not only are traffic accidents the leading cause of death among the general population, they are also one of the top causes of workplace fatalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36% of occupational fatalities are associated with motor vehicles. The average crash costs an employer $16,500 with the cost to the employer rising to $74,000 when a worker has an on-the-job crash that results in an injury. With this in mind, it’s important to practice good defensive driving techniques.
The good news is that these crashes are largely preventable. Recognizing the opportunity that employers have to save lives, a growing number of employers have established fleet safety programs in their companies. No organization can afford to ignore a major problem that has such a serious impact on both their personnel and the company bottom line.
The National Safety Council has defined defensive driving as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” Driving defensively involves taking measures to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. Thus, the practice of specific driving techniques goes beyond that of following the general rules of the road.
Defensive driving is learning how to anticipate problems before they happen. Although defensive driving seems to imply that the driver is more on the defense than on the offense, defensive driving is in reality the ability to be proactive while driving, not passive.
You can drive defensively by employing a number of tactics. Defensive drivers are always aware of their surroundings, whether it’s obstacles, other drivers or pedestrians. When driving defensively, it’s important to scan surroundings, maintain a safe following distance, make smart decisions, be aware of other driver’s decisions, and act with speed and accuracy. By doing these things constantly, you can increase your safety on the road as well as the safety of other drivers.
Thus, defensive driving is the learned ability to anticipate possible outcomes in a given situation so that the driver is prepared with the skills to anticipate hazards rather than simply reacting to them. Driving defensively is an important aspect of any safety management program and can effectively help reduce workplace fatalities.