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Driver Safety

Learning Objectives

  • Identify examples of poor driving behaviors such as distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, and driving tired (fatigued); how to avoid poor behaviors while driving; and the safety benefits of wearing seat belts and following company policies and procedures.
  • Recognize how proper vehicle maintenance can prevent driving accidents and the benefits of keeping emergency preparation items in the car trunk.
  • Identify safe driving practices in adverse weather conditions, at night, and how to stay safe on the roadway when presented with an emergency situation.
  • Recognize defensive driving practices, how to respond to distracted drivers, and how to respond appropriately to others using the roadway.

Available in English, Spanish

20 minutes

Mobile Ready

5-Min Reminder

Instant Safety Video


Of the 1,740 transportation-related fatal injuries in 2013, nearly 3 out of every 5 (991 cases) were roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)


Think of truck drivers—hauling freight is what they do. Great training and caution are essential to lowering the risk related to your mobile workforce.

The amount of caution you exercise while driving combined with your vehicle’s condition determines your safety on the road. Proper vehicle maintenance is a frequently overlooked safety precaution. Worn tires, tires with low pressure, wiper blades, and dirty lights, will interfere with your visibility and the vehicle’s maneuverability. It is recommended that you replace your tires if the tread depth is less that 3/32nd of an inch. You can determine this by inserting a penny upside down into your tire tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need to replace your tires. Worn, cracked, or loose hoses and belts can disable your vehicle and leave you stranded. Loose items on the dashboard are very dangerous. During an accident, these objects become missiles. 

External Condition Cautions

  • Anticipate slippery or other dangerous road conditions and adjust your driving to suit conditions.
  • When you identify hazardous road conditions, slow down.  Reducing your speed will allow you to identify and react to hazardous conditions sooner.
  • Use extra caution when driving at night and in fog, heavy rain, or snow.
  • Use headlights after sunset or when visibility is 1000 feet or less (1000 feet = 330 yards or about 3 football fields).
  • Drivers are encouraged to use headlights all the time-even in daylight hours.

Other Driving Cautions

  • Adjust your speed to driving conditions.
  • Be aware of slower moving vehicles, especially trucks on hills.
  • Remember, if you cannot see a truck’s mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you.
  • Be alert for motorcycles.
  • Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists—they have the right of way.

Defensive Driving

  • Always use extra caution when moving your vehicle in reverse.
  • Scan ahead at least 10 seconds, 1/4 mile, or to the next intersection or curve.
  • Check traffic behind you frequently.
  • Reduce your speed when necessary.
  • Approach intersections with caution.
  • Be alert of other drivers making changes.
  • Let other drivers know what you plan to do.
  • Avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.
  • Apply the brake lightly when trying to stop on a slippery surface. Do not pump ABS brakes.
  • Never use cruise control on slippery or icy roads.
  • Be patient and adjust to the flow of traffic.
  • Check your blind spot before changing lanes.
  • Be aware of other vehicles changing lanes.

Establish a safe following distance. This should range between 2 and 4 seconds depending on weather and other driving conditions. To determine this safe distance, watch the vehicle ahead of you pass a specific mark. Then count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two., etc.”  If your front bumper passes the same mark before you finish counting, you’re following too closely.

Always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the other vehicles around you. This space cushion protects you from others. Try to keep that space cushion on all sides of you— ahead, to each side, and behind. 

If a vehicle is following you too closely, increase your following distance and increase your space cushion. When you stop near or behind a truck or other large vehicle align your vehicle so the other driver can see you. Remember—if you cannot see their mirrors, they cannot see you.

If your vehicle breaks down, drive your vehicle off the roadway as far as you can, whenever it is possible to do so.  Then, signal for help by turning on your vehicle’s emergency flashers, tying a white handkerchief or scarf to the window or antenna, or by raising the vehicle’s hood and if possible, set out flares or portable warning signals.

Wait for help. Don’t walk along the freeway. Don’t accept help from strangers. Ask them to call the authorities. Be cautious if people who are not police officers, firefighters, or traffic control personnel signal for you to stop. If your car is bumped from behind in a secluded or dark area or if you are followed by a car and are not sure of their intentions, drive to the nearest well-lighted and busy public area, police department, or fire station and call for police assistance.

This lesson familiarizes employees that drive as part of their work with the hazards of driving and methods that will protect them from potential driving crashes.

This lesson is not intended to cover driving requirements associated with commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) or the use of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This lesson does not address safety concerns associated with the use of off-road (ATV) vehicles, motorcycles, towing a trailer, or load securement while hauling equipment such as in the bed of a pickup truck.