Many who watch the news are aware of the story that has kept headlines for this past week, the Bronx train derailment. For those of you who haven’t really heard much about it here’s a general over view:
At a little past 7 am a 7 passenger Metro-North train was traveling south into the Bronx when the last curve before the station approached. The curve was a very sharp turn yielding about 30 mph for traveling trains. This Metro-North train was found to be traveling OVER 80 mph through the curve, while the conductor was “asleep.” It was later found that he did not even awake till they were already through the curve, which half way through, the conductor “dumped the brakes” meaning he locked up every brake on all 7 carts. The train of course, derailed and toppled over killing 4 and injuring 63 of the 150 passengers on the train that morning.
After reading many articles and seeing the news replay the same thing I can only wonder with our high tech world we live in, a few questions were still left unanswered. How didn’t anyone, at the train control center, know how fast this train was going? Then that led to, “Do trains not have SOME sort of GPS and/or Camera system installed to notify control centers of their speeds, location or what their conductors are doing while ‘driving’?” The answer I was shocked to find out was ‘No.’ It blew my mind! How can a train circuit so big and widely used, not know where their trains are and not know AT LEAST how fast they are going. Later after more reading I found out that this wasn’t the first accident this year, earlier another train almost derailed after coming within crashing into another train. I also inquired that they had an opportunity to install sure GPS units to help manage the trains and their whereabouts but declined the offer, but now they want to install them, but they wouldn’t be able to have them till 2018! My question is “WHY WAIT?!” How many more lives need to be lost or how many more “close calls” need to happen before they make a decision to act NOW?
Do your employees cringe at the idea of a GPS tracking device and In-Vehicle Cameras in their vehicle? The resistance to “big brother” can be a struggle for employers to overcome and employees may complain about being “spied on” or “a loss of trust.” Some drivers may even threaten to quit if a fleet tracking device or camera is put in the vehicle, but if they’re not doing anything wrong, why would they be so upset? Even though drivers are some of the harshest critics of GPS vehicle tracking technology, they actually have a lot to gain.
Increased Driver Safety
Whether they choose to believe it or not, drivers who speed put themselves at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says speeding is a factor in one-third of all motor vehicle accidents. With Safety Track’s Speed Alerts and Camera DVR system, you’ll be able to see what’s going on inside and out of the vehicle, while also seeing speed alerts, idle time and much more. By eliminating the temptation to speed, your drivers will be far safer, while receiving less traffic tickets. You can even use the automated reports and video to argue inaccurate speeding fines and accidents.
Fight Wrongful Accident Liability
Even when your drivers are cautious and safe, accidents can still happen; we’re all human. If your employee gets into a wreck, the police may get an earful of the “he-said-she-said” game. Individuals may want to sue your business, hoping to get some extra cash for “pain and suffering.” With an In-Vehicle Camera system, along with a fleet tracking solution, you’ll have concrete records and VIDEO what is happening in and around your vehicle, along with your driver’s speed, location, direction of travel and more. It can turn a knock-down-drag-out lawyer fight into an open-and-shut case, saving you TIME and MONEY. You’ll keep the points off your driver’s license and the lawyer’s fees off your books.
Driver Incentive Programs
Even with the data and video on their side, drivers may still resist a GPS Fleet Tracking System. However, a simple incentive program can change the minds of even the most stubborn employee to get on board. After installing Safety Track’s system, you’ll notice a decrease in fuel cost, insurance claims, and also repair costs, almost immediately. Taking a portion of that savings and offering it to your safest and most fuel-conscious employees as a gift card, free time off or cash bonus, can show your drivers that fleet tracking devices can work for them. With our Fleet Metrics dashboard application, you easily see who has the fewest Speed Alerts, lowest idle times and more. Print them off and post them in the office to create a friendly competition. You’ll soon have your drivers boasting about saving you money.
Anyone who lives where it snows knows that winter driving it the worse type of driving there is! Bad weather accounts for roughly 1.5 million car accidents here in the U.S. per year. Out of those 1.5 million well over half if caused by winter and icy weather. Even with such high statistics, people still have an over bearing of confidence in themselves and their vehicles. Cockiness and a false sense of trust in their cars is one of the leading causes in winter accidents; just because the speed limit is 55mph does NOT mean that is the mandatory speed needed to be maintained during all conditions. To avoid being part of a winter statistic, here is some common winter driving mistakes that can easily be corrected to improve your snowy driving experience this season.
#5. 4WD & AWD DOES NOT mean you’re bullet proof.
The myth people have been saying for years is that if your vehicle is equipped with 4WD or has AWD you are excluded from cautious driving in the ice and snow, WRONG! 4WD only helps when stuck in high snow/ice in low speeds, but once on the road and past 15mph, every vehicle is the same. Another myth is that just because all four tires are receiving power, that you’ll have more traction and control. WRONG again! AWD & 4WD has no impact on handling once the car is driving. It doesn’t give “extra” traction for braking, or “extra” traction for steering. The best thing to do for winter is allow enough travel time, DO NOT RUSH, and remember to have patience with others on the road.
#4. Be prepared for ANYTHING!
Winter is full of the unexpected, unexpected weather and unexpected road conditions and back-ups, so being prepared is a must! Before the weather gets too bad or you’re stuck in a rough situation, make sure you go over this simple check list to make sure you and your vehicle are prepared.
Check tire pressure and tread; consider snow tires if tread is bad
Check antifreeze and windshield fluid levels are filled
Check engine belts for wear-and-tear
Check battery; make sure you’re not cutting it close on the life of the battery
Check that both front and rear defrosts work properly
Make sure to have an ice scrapper in the vehicle
Keep a set of jumper cables in the trunk
Make sure to have a flash light (with extra batteries) on hand
Consider keeping a blanket/extra gloves/ winter boots in your vehicle
#3. Follow the leader…
With younger drivers on the road, or everyone being late for something, we live in a world where we are always rushing and moving to get to our next place in the fastest way possible. When the weather starts cooling down and the roads become slick, slow and steady always wins in the long run. Many don’t realize that your brakes have not changed because of the season, but your braking HABITS should; that also goes for tailgating as well. Allow at least enough space between you and the car in front of you to make safe braking and steering adjustments if necessary. When leaving your house, test steering and braking down a local road at a safe speed to get a “feel” for how your vehicle reacts to the road conditions.
#2. Slamming on the brakes
Icy roads and snowy streets can make anyone want to be a hermit during the winter season, but just because the roads might look bad, doesn’t mean it has to end in disaster. It’s easy to panic when you feel your vehicle spill on a patch of ice but the right braking techniques can help any situation. Instead of panicking, stay calm and hold the wheel firmly, ease off the gas and let the car slow down. DO NOT OVER CORRECT the wheel, that will just lead to more trouble. Hard force on the brakes removes all traction from the tires, in turn taking away your control of the vehicle. Another concern most people will encounter during the winter is sliding while turning, where most accidents occur. With a few helpful hints you can turn with ease. When turning in snow always remember:
When approaching the corner, start to slow down (brake)
Once you start to turn the wheel, let the momentum of your vehicle take you through the corner.
Once three quarters of the way through the turn, start to accelerate.
#1. Under estimating Mother Nature’s power
Many people believe, no matter what season it is, that speed limits are the minimum of what all people on the road should be driving. During winter, the highway doesn’t always mean travel at least 70mph. Speed limit signs are just suggested max speed for optimal driving conditions. You should drive at a comfortable and safe speed that allows enough distance for stopping. It usually takes anywhere from 4-10 times longer to stop in snow and ice then it would on normal pavement. Also remember that even if there isn’t snow on the roads, the freezing temperatures can cause ice patches, black ice, to form on the roads, so always be cautious and aware while driving this season. Winter is the season for patience and safe driving habits.
Winter is rapidly approaching us, you might have even felt Jack Frost nipping at your nose already. During the winter season, car accidents increase dramatically with people not taking small precautionary steps before they hit the road. Whether you and your family are driving down the road or across the state this season, make sure to keep in mind these simple and easy tips and tricks to make your holiday season safe and enjoyable for everybody. With how bad winters can get for all of us, here are some DOs and DON’Ts on how to be prepared for this winters unexpected weather, while also making it a safer driving season.
10. DO allow a few minutes to brush and scrape your vehicle. Clearing windows is crucial for visibility. Removing snow or ice from the top of your car will spare cars behind you from encountering an unexpected snow assault, impairing visibility or even cracking a windshield.
DON’T forget to clean snow and ice off your headlights and taillights as well.
9. DO use winterized windshield wiper fluid to make sure your wiper sprayer doesn’t freeze over or crack, preventing you from washing away dirt and salt.
DON’T try to melt ice from your windshield by pouring hot water on it. Using hot water can crack the windshield.
8. DO wash your car regularly to remove salt and dirt from the roadways.
DON’T let road grime prematurely age the body of your vehicle by neglecting to bathe it.
7. DO maintain at least half a tank of gas to prevent fuel line freeze up.
DON’T forget to check that all fluids are at proper levels and ensure all tires, including the spare, have the required pressure and tread.
6. DO prepare your car for an emergency. Essential items to keep in the trunk are a blanket to stay warm, proper attire (boots, jacket, hat and gloves) in case you have to be outside for an extended period of time, a shovel, flashlight with fresh batteries and snacks. Keep your cell phone charged to call help if necessary.
DON’T forget the kitty litter or sand, which can be used to provide added traction if your car becomes stuck in the snow.
5. DO remain aware of what’s around you on the road, including checking your blind spots and keeping an eye out for pedestrians or lost reindeer from Santa’s sleigh.
DON’T follow too closely. The general rule is the vehicle ahead should pass a road marker two seconds before you. In slippery conditions, it is recommended to double the amount of space between you and the vehicle in front.
4. DO apply even pressure when braking in slick conditions if your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Keep in mind anti-lock brakes do not shorten stopping distance, but they do help you maintain control.
DON’T become overconfident in snowy and slippery road conditions. Always test road conditions with cautious driving when the surface area is wet or icy, particularly on bridges and overpasses.
3. DO turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide when driving on snowy or icy roads until you gain control.
DON’T apply power or change directions suddenly on snow or ice.
2. DO stay calm if you find yourself stuck in the snow or broken down on the side of the road in adverse conditions.
DON’T leave your car unless available shelter is close by. If you need to run the engine to stay warm, make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow so the interior stays clear of harmful carbon monoxide.
1. DO make sure you are awake and alert behind the wheel. If necessary, take a break and grab a coffee.
DON’T lose track of how many eggnog’s you consumed at the holiday party. The most important holiday safe driving tip of all is to refrain from drinking and driving under all circumstances. If you think you will drink, arrange for alternate transportation ahead of time.
Kids always think they’re older and more responsible than they really are. This Halloween season every parent wants to give their child the “responsibility” they want, with the feeling of comfort YOU deserve. Children always think they can “handle things” on their own or make their own decisions; this Halloween let them think they are being adults and going out with their friends by themselves, but you’ll have a trick up your sleeve. Before your little one leaves the house, give them a new, cool “necklace” which can put your mind at ease. The “necklace” is actually in fact a Personal Tracking Unit, or S-911, designed with a lanyard look. The unit is no bigger than those orange peanut butter crackers you always ate as a kid growing up. With a light weight design and easy the use functions, keeping up with your young one will be a breeze.
Real Time Alerts- what’s happening right then and now, which can be received through text, email and on the web dashboard.
Real Time Locating- pin points exact locations within feet; no more guessing about where your loved one is at.
Geo-Fencing- set up a perimeter, or “safe zone” that your child can travel, once they cross the boundary, alerts are sent to your device.
G-Shock- alerts your if/when a fall or impact as occurred and alerts your device of where and when the incident occurred.
2-Way Communication- as simple as calling a phone. Call your units personal number and talk live with your loved one. Responding is as easy as pushing a button and talking.
The personal unit tracking is a solution for younger teens and even for grandparents. It’s small, light weight, and very easy to use. With all the functions and capabilities, they get the “responsibility” they want with the peace of mind you need.
Now available, the First 4G Live Video Streaming Camera System. This Live Streaming Video Camera System is the perfect device to improve the Fleet Safety of any size fleet. With up to 4 cameras, you can see inside, or outside your vehicles. It gives fleet managers the opportunity to see what is happening, real time. The UCIT DVR system allows you to view your vehicles at the push of the button. It stores the data onto multiple Compact Flash cards to view at a later time. The GPS Fleet Tracking feature uses Google Maps to show you where the vehicles are located. This system can also be used as a backup camera system, just add one of our in cab monitor’s and the driver now can see his blind spots. For a “Few Dollars’ more a month than you are paying now for just ” Fleet Tracking”, you can have fleet tracking with Live Video. A Cost effective solution to your Fleet Safety Needs.
Four Camera Capabilities to allow four viewing angles.
In this day and age we are always in a rush; going, moving, doing, something always needs to be done. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to accomplish everything we need. We even start to turn our vehicles into office space, social hub and a food table. With so many distractions out there in the fast pace technological world we live in, it’s a surprise we get to our destination in one piece. Anything can become a distraction for us, like bugs drawn to a bug-zapper; they can range from the tan, ripped guy running down the street, to the blinking lights on a new party store. While realistically we can’t eliminate driving distractions 100%, there are a few easy things you can do to take those negative habits and turn them into positive ones.
#10: Under the Influence: And not just Alcohol.
While we are all aware of the affects of drinking and driving, that’s not the only substance that can impair driving abilities. Many people have prescription medications or pain killers they take, which can leave them feeling drained, groggy or even sleep deprived. This clouding of judgment and mental stability is safe for not only them but drivers around them.
Solution: Ask your doctor about side effects and don’t drive until you know how your body reacts to the medication.
#9: Keeping Track of Man’s Best Friend.
Dogs LOVE car rides and feeling the wind on their face, there’s nothing like it. But many dogs don’t just sit in one seat for the car ride. They want to see everything and are constantly bouncing around from the front to the back. Sometimes you might have papers in a seat or an open drink that could potentially spill. Occupying your attention on them leaves you and others on the road vulnerable and at risk.
Solution: Dog carriers or even harness devices to help limit your pets’ mobility in the car.
#8: Playing Referee with the Kids.
Everyone thinks that their child is an angel sent from above, but what happens when your “angel” turns into a screaming monster? First reaction is to see why their crying and comfort them. Those seconds your eyes come off the road can be the difference of an accident and safety.
Solution: Try and talk your little one down. If that doesn’t work, pull over.
#7: Make- Up and Multi-tasking.
Women are no stranger to leaving the house and trying to finish putting on their eye liner or even mascara while driving. Men are also the blame, brushing and fixing their hair in the rear view mirror or even shaving! Some people find driving boring and like to enjoy a good book or newspaper article.
Solution: It can wait, or wake up earlier to accomplish needed tasks.
#6: Search and Rescue Missions.
Everyone has had those times when things slip out of your hand, or take a corner too tightly and things slide off seats, dashboards and center counsels. CD’s, phones, papers, food etc have found their way to the floor and it’s something you need, it’s almost in your reach. As you start to reach the wheel comes with you but is caught in time; Close Call!
Solution: Car organizers for CD’s, iPod and cell phone holders, along with binders are readily available.
#5: Radios, iPods, and Other Electronics.
With today’s advancing technology, electronics are being coming more alive. You can now do almost anything with iPod’s and radios. With such an amazing technology out there and at our finger tips it’s hard to NOT be distracted even walking down the street, let alone driving.
Solution: For iPod’s, make a driving play list so you can listen to your favorite songs hands free. With a high-tech radio, preset your stations or even have the blue-tooth hands-free radio.
#4: “Taking a Deep Breath.”
Road rage is something that sneaks up on a lot of us while driving. We find ourselves yelling at lights, cars and people; someone cuts you off or just is driving 15 under the speed limit. Your first reaction maybe to speed up and give them more than just a piece of your mind, not thinking of the danger you are not only putting yourself in but also the others around you.
Solution: Turn the negative into a positive. Stop, Take a deep breath, and if you can’t handle the rage, pull over to avoid escalating a potentially dangerous situation.
#3: “Yes I’ll have fries with that meal…”
Cars are more than just a transporter. With every place now having the comfort of drive thru’s, the car is now not only a mobile transportation, but also a dinner table. Fast pace atmospheres drive us to be always on the go and always moving, forcing us to eat between the limited time we have in between activities. Spilling your hot morning coffee causing you panic and not have full control of the vehicle is just one example of the many situations that could happen.
Solution: Make time for meals, or even pack snacks for in between trips to help curve hunger.
#2: Limit Phone Calls.
How many times have we passes a car going too slow and the drivers on the phone, too many to count! Cars are the “other office space” on wheels. They host family meetings, conference calls and any other business needed to be dealt with between trips to the grocery store. Dealing with work matters or maybe talking to a relative can take away your total mental focus off the road and on to the conversation at hand.
Solution: Blue-tooth head-sets are widely available and can be paired with any phone these days. They prove the conversation you WANT with the hands-free focus driving NEEDS.
#1: Texting and Social Media.
With the increasing social media movement being forced on the younger generations, anywhere is now considered a social hub. The car, their rooms, even the bathroom can provide a back drop to Instagram pictures, Vine videos, and Facebook updates. Being on all these sites, it seems more and more teens and younger adults are updating their lives on the road. “Becky Smith posted- ‘This traffic on I-94 is CRAZY!!’” is almost too common on the web these days.
Solution: Talk to your kids about the dangers of not having full attention on the road, and also display good driving habits while they are in the car. Also, it can wait; people don’t need to see you driving to know what you look like or if you are having a good hair day.
We all can relate to close calls when it comes to driving. Someone is tailgating, in a rush or just flat out isn’t paying attention to the road. Well what happens when that close call becomes a reality and you’re faced with an accident? Even a minor fender-bender can cost you more than money, but time. In this day and age the top two things people worry about most is TIME and MONEY, and no one ever seems to have enough of either. What if there was a system out there to help you save on BOTH time and money, which is also affordable? Great news, there is!
Coming to a red light at an intersection, you slow down and glance down at your watch thinking “five minutes till I have to be there” yet you are ten minutes away and traffic is heavy today. To your luck the turns green and as you make your way through the light, you hardly notice the F-150 that is inches away from the passenger door. Trying to time a yellow light to make it to work, the F-150 makes contact and you’re now t-boned. Faced with a new problem to add to the time constraint you already have, now the car needs to be fixed. We all have our own versions of the “accident game” but for the most part it’s all the same: blame one another, switch personal and insurance information, take pictures etc. In some cases, court has to be involved to settle disputes between each party; you say the light was green, while he says you’re crazy, it was still green for him. At this point the case as little evidence to go either way, just your luck, the case is dropped and you end up paying for the damages. By the time most accidents are settled with each party, it can be well over a year. What if there was a way to break this circle of headaches and cut down on your TIME invested worrying about this problem, and the MONEY spent fixing this unfortunate issue?
Rewind this accident to the very beginning but change ONE factor, add an In Vehicle Camera System with DVR capability. A tiny camera that is placed inside the car on the windshield, that lets you have up to a 360 viewing field around the car. With such a small difference in a situation, there can be the difference of cutting the time you would spend in court, on the phone with insurance companies etc. in half. Unfortunately it can’t fix your car for you, but it will provide all the information needed to depict an accurate account of has happened. Proving an insurance company with such proof wouldn’t make your policy go up, and with continuous monitoring it could have the chance to actually lower the cost of insurance. With the DVR feature available on most models, important events in a driver’s history can be stored and kept for however long is needed. When walking into court, if needs be, you can accurately present the Who, What, When, Where and How’s of the situation and best of all avoid the “He said She Said” game.
The procedure for what do in the event of a vehicle breakdown has a lot to do with where the vehicle is being driven at the time it sputters to a stop. Metropolitan-area freeways and rural highways each bring different problems and require markedly different solutions to a vehicle breakdown.
Regardless of the setting, however, it’s important to remember to use the vehicle’s hazard lights and pull onto the shoulder (if it can be done safely to avoid becoming a road hazard to other drivers) to get out of the way of other passing vehicles flying by at high speeds.
Once the driver has cleared the road and is safely on the shoulder, he or she can make the vehicle more visible by turning on the vehicle’s dome light and leaving the headlights on, in addition to the vehicle hazard lights. All vehicles should be equipped with an emergency kit. Put reflective triangles behind the vehicle if it can be done safely.
A copy of the fleet’s safety and accident policy should be stored in the glovebox and reviewed when an incident occurs. Once the policy has been quickly studied, several questions should be asked: Is it safe to exit the vehicle? Is the neighborhood/stretch of road safe or should caution be exercised? The answers to these questions, or the obvious nature of the breakdown, will determine what to do next.
It is recommended to only exit the vehicle if it’s a residential or rural/low traffic area. In high-trafficked metropolitan areas, stay in the car until assistance can be rendered by a tow truck driver or law enforcement personnel. Exiting or standing around a stranded vehicle greatly increases the risk of injury or death. Staying safe is much more important than staying on schedule.
If the car is beyond repair, it’s best to wait for a professional. After calling a tow truck directly or the fleet manager or fleet management company (if required by policy), the driver should wait patiently for official help to arrive.
Never accept unofficial assistance in the wake of a breakdown.
The National Safety Council recommends the following:
Do not try to flag down other vehicles, i.e., don’t solicit the help of passing motorists.
Raise the vehicle’s hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out the window so police officers or tow truck operators will know help is needed.
Don’t stand behind or next to the vehicle.
5 Freeway Breakdown Tips
If a driver is stranded due to a vehicle breakdown on a freeway, here are five tips to be sure they remember:
Pull over and out of traffic if possible. Even if all of the emergency lights are activated, some highway drivers do not pay close attention and could rear-end the disabled fleet vehicle, causing further damage or injury.
The driver shouldn’t attempt to fix the vehicle, even if it appears it’s going to be a quick or easy fix. Wait for professional help to arrive.
Only exit the vehicle if it is necessary or safe to do so. If possible, raise the vehicle hood to alert passing authorities that the vehicle is disabled and help is needed.
Patience is a virtue in breakdown situations. Particularly in heavily trafficked metropolitan areas, highways are regularly patrolled by police and tow truck operators — help will arrive soon.
Lastly, make sure to keep a copy of the fleet’s roadside assistance or accident policy in the vehicle at all times.
Do you know what your driver does while he is driving?
States keep changing what is allowed and not allowed while driving so there needs to be a way to monitor your drivers to ensure that they are following the laws of the road while behind the wheel. With any of Safety Track’s Camera Systems you can get the chance to do just that. Monitor your driver and there surroundings with Safety Track and ensure the safety of your company and the employees involved in it.