Fleet Vehicle Safety & Driver Safety

Defensive Driving

RIGHT-OF-WAY - Generally the driver who arrives last gives right-of-way to those who were already there. You give right-of-way when entering traffic. You give right-of-way when turning left in front of approaching traffic. You give right-of-way when changing lanes. You move into your intended path or direction only after you are assured you will not conflict with other traffic.

START-UP/BACK-UP - During a typical start-up/back-up situation, a vehicle has been parked for a long enough time to allow pedestrians and other vehicles to approach and rest within a few feet of the parked vehicle. Starting up forward, backward, or steering left or right from a stopped position can create an unexpected hazard for both the driver and bystanders.

NEGOTIATING CURVES - When negotiating a curve at an excessive speed, commercial motor vehicles will roll over. Automobiles will lose traction and slide out of a curve instead of rolling over. The more top-heavy a vehicle is, the more likely it will roll over than slide out of a curve. During a tractor-trailer rollover, the trailer usually begins to roll before the tractor. By the time the driver realizes that the trailer is rolling, there is not much that can be done to prevent a complete rollover.

PASSING - Safe passing maneuvers require well developed skills and judgment. Passing tasks include checking sight distance ahead, checking mirrors for rear traffic, checking for traffic passing you, estimating speed and position of approaching vehicles; estimating time you need to safely pass, accelerating, steering, checking for traffic entering from side roads, etc. Because the driver must perform several tasks in a short time during passing, the chance of an error is high, unless the maneuver is done cautiously. Because it sometimes takes a long time before an opportunity to pass safely arises, some drivers take risks and assume other drivers will compensate for their own aggressiveness.

TURNING LEFT AND RIGHT - Making left or right turns with long vehicles creates problems that automobile drivers do not have. Blind spots make it difficult to see other vehicles. Vehicle length forces drivers to make wide turns, encroaching upon adjacent lanes of traffic. Improper tracking of vehicles makes it difficult for the driver to judge position. Turning takes longer to complete, thus increasing exposure time to hazards. Drivers should recognize the hazards created while turning and follow proper procedures to minimize them.

CROSSING INTERSECTIONS - Crossing intersections with long vehicles presents problems that automobile drivers do not have. Because of their length and their slow acceleration, trucks and buses take much more time to cross and clear intersecting roads than do automobiles. Also, at night, the sides of long vehicles may not be conspicuous to approaching drivers. Drivers of large vehicles must recognize these problems and take special care when crossing intersections, particularly when they are uncontrolled intersections.

USING AND CHANGING LANES - Lane use and lane changing accidents primarily result from following too closely or being inattentive to traffic conditions ahead. In either case, defensive driving is the most effective countermeasure. Lane use and lane changing accidents primarily involve sideswiping and rear-end collisions. The existence of blind spots around large vehicles is a major contributing factor. Maintain a proper following distance and take note of countermeasures involving right-of-way.

PARKING - Parking on or partially on a travel lane creates a hazard. This is especially true at night. On congested metropolitan streets, drivers expect to see parked vehicles in their lane and are usually ready to react and avoid them. On rural and high-speed roads, drivers do not expect to see vehicles parked in their lane. Their attention level may be lower and they may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a collision.

NEGOTIATING DOWNGRADES - The main reason for loss of control on downgrades is brake failure, and the main reason for this is the use of improper control techniques by the driver. The brake system may be damaged or maladjusted and may not have sufficient capacity for downgrade control. Primary countermeasures for preventing a runaway are: adequate driver skills; frequent checks on brake operation; adequate preventive maintenance.

DRIVING IN ADVERSE CONDITIONS - Failure to adjust to adverse conditions is a major factor in accident causation. The adverse conditions most frequently encountered cause reduced traction and reduced visibility. Reduced traction conditions include rain, snow, ice, slush and gravel. Reduced visibility conditions include twilight, darkness, rain, snow and fog. Drivers should not only develop the skills and judgment necessary to keep their own vehicle safely under control, they should also try to anticipate and be prepared to compensate for errors other drivers make during such poor driving conditions.

EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT AND PROCEDURES - Emergency situations include stalling in a travel lane, stopping for an accident in your path, engine compartment fire, wheel fire, burned-out light bulbs, blown fuse in lighting circuit, etc. Having emergency equipment available in your vehicle and knowing how to use it will greatly assist you in avoiding hazards that arise in these types of situations.

PEDESTRIAN INTERACTION - Most pedestrian accidents occur when the pedestrian walks onto a roadway and into the path of an approaching vehicle. Pedestrians often misjudge the speed and closeness of a commercial motor vehicle. Pedestrians assume you can and will slow down for them. Pedestrians think that because they can see you, you can see them. These kinds of errors in judgment are why pedestrian accidents frequently occur. Drivers should try to anticipate pedestrians making such errors and be prepared to compensate.

PASSENGER MANAGEMENT - Passengers can distract the driver. Passengers can physically interfere with the driver. Passengers can restrict the driver's freedom to maneuver aggressively for accident avoidance. Passengers can injure themselves by not sitting properly in designated seating positions. Whatever the case, the driver must manage the passengers to avoid such problems.


A preventable vehicle accident is one which occurs because the driver fails to act in a reasonably expected manner to prevent it. In judging whether the driver's actions were reasonable, one seeks to determine whether the driver drove defensively and demonstrated an acceptable level of skill and knowledge. The judgment of what is reasonable can be based on a company-adopted definition, establishing a goal for the vehicle safety management programs. The great majority of preventable vehicle accidents can be shown to be directly related to the performance of the driver. It is therefore extremely productive to any fleet safety program to have a careful new driver selection and adequate monitoring procedures for existing drivers.

Safe driving recognition or incentive programs should be an integral part of a formal fleet safety program. Such programs identify superior driving performance and set forth the selected drivers as examples to be emulated by the rest of the fleet. Such programs can be generated internally within the company or through participation in national safe driver award programs conducted by associations such as the National Safety Council or the American Trucking Associations.

Driving is a profession requiring skill, knowledge, physical and mental health and character integrity. Public safety and company reputation requires that drivers be fully qualified. Drivers who are not qualified should receive remedial training or be terminated if they cannot be brought up to the necessary level of competence.

It has been well documented that drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have been involved in about half of all fatal traffic accidents. Drinking or substance abuse by drivers of alcohol or drugs cannot be tolerated. Company management must be acutely aware of the seriousness of this societal problem and establish procedures to effectively control it within their respective organizations.

Everyone understands how ill or fatigued drivers can be a hazard to themselves and others. Nonetheless, drivers sometimes push their bodies beyond reasonable limits and become a hazard anyway. This is why comprehensive federal regulations have been established. In addition to being law, these regulations are useful guides to both the driver and his supervisors in defining reasonable, sensible limitations on when medical conditions or duty status calls for rest and no driving.

Fleet safe driving performance is dependent on management commitment to the implementation of a formal fleet safety program. An effective safety program will interact with most aspects of fleet operations and challenge the skills and knowledge of its supervisors and drivers.

The company driver manual is a key communication link between the company and its drivers. It conveniently brings together information about the company, its policies and procedures. It is indispensable for training new drivers and is a handy reference for existing drivers. The manual should be progressively developed and continually updated.

All materials in the members area for this topic index

Program Material

Programs (written)
 Defensive Driving Policy Safety Program   Download  MS-WORD
 Defensive Driving Safety Program   Download  MS-WORD
 Drug Free Workplace Safety Program   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Conspicuity Requirements   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Haz Trans Plan   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Safety Program   Download  MS-WORD
 Vehicle Safety Program   Download  MS-WORD
Program Development
 DQ Files   Download  MS-WORD
 Driver Safety Tips   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Cargo Securement   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Caution Letter   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Cdl Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver D A Testrates   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Hazmat Security   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Veh Acc Def Driving   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Veh Acc Pre Eval   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Veh Pre Maint   Download  MS-WORD
 Servicing Single Piece Rims 1   Download  MS-WORD
 driver health   Download  MS-WORD
 flatbed safety   Download  MS-WORD
Fact Sheets
 Driver Hazards Loading Unloading Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD
 Drugfree Companypolicy   Download  MS-WORD
 Drugfree Recognizing Problem   Download  MS-WORD
 Drugfree Testing Types   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver 2012 Hos Regulations   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver 2013 DOT Cdl Hours Of Service Summary   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver 2013 Hos Comparison   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Conspicuity Images   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Drug Alcohol Rules   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Fleetwksheet Read   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Form Commercial Vehicle Pre Trip Inspection   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Fuel Island Spill   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Fuel Spill Road   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Fueling   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Hazmat Trans   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Law Alert   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Managing Security   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Security   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Trainer Lifting Tarp   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Truck Driver Stretches   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Truck Markings   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Us DOT Drug And Alcohol Testing Training   Download  MS-WORD
 Suspension Trailer Inspection Safety Topic Fact Sheet   Download  MS-WORD

Forms & Documents

 Drug Free Workplace Program Checklist   Download  MS-WORD
 Vehicle Safety Supervisor Safety Checklist   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Fleet Wksheet Samp   Download  MS-EXCEL
 Fleet Driver Fleet Wksheet   Download  MS-EXCEL
 10 Step Program to Minimize Crash Risk   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Haz Placards   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Pre Trip   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Veh Ws Use   Download  MS-WORD
 Promote Safe Driving Practices to Protect Your Most Valuable Investment   Download  MS-WORD
 Suspension Trailer Inspection Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Vehicle Accident Report Analysis Worksheet Form   Download  MS-WORD
 Transporting Employees And Materials Inspection General Form   Download  MS-WORD

Training Material

Accident Reports
 Fleet Driver ACC Awning   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Brake Failure   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Disconnect   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Fatal Grade   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Following   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Gas Fire   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Lowbed   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Sedated   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Utility Fatal   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Wrong   Download  MS-WORD
 Powerline And Truck Ladder Electrical   Download  MS-WORD
 Transportation Worker Overhead Power Line Electrical Accident   Download  MS-WORD
 Truck Driver Crane Electrical Accident   Download  MS-WORD
 Truck Driver Unloading Material Electrical Accident   Download  MS-WORD
Crossword Puzzle
 Driving Crossword Answer Key   Download  MS-WORD
 Driving Crossword   Download  MS-WORD
 Dump Truck Safety   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver ACC Prevention 2014   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Daydreaming   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Lifting Training Handout   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Medical Questionnaires   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Safety Rules   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Slip Flyer   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Why Safety Belt   Download  MS-WORD
 US DOT Drug And Alcohol Testing Training Handout   Download  MS-WORD
 Drugfree   Download  MS-WORD
 Drugfree Programoutlines   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Fleetsafeytoutline   Download  MS-WORD
 Cargo Securement   Download  MS-PPT
 Cargo Tanks And Portable Tanks DOT   Download  MS-PPT
 Distracted Driving 2   Download  MS-PPT
 Truck Driver Fatigue and Alertness PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 Truck Driver Fatigue and Alertness PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 2 Minute Safety Brief Defensive Driving   Download  MS-WORD
 Opps Trailor Loading Talk   Download  MS-WORD
 Driving and Medication   Download  OnLine
 Drowsy Driving   Download  OnLine


 Drug Car Poster   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Hijacking Brochure   Download  MS-WORD
 Fleet Driver Hijacking Poster   Download  MS-WORD
 Focus On Safety Poster   Download  MS-WORD
 Marijuana Poster   Download  MS-WORD



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