How to Prevent Rear-End Collisions

20 May 2016 - By Eugene Herbert

According to some
industry experts, rear-end collisions on the highway between Johannesburg and
Pretoria (Ben Schoeman), account for some 80% of crashes.

Common to
almost all of these incidents is the fact that these are caused by incorrect
following distance.

While we
have identified the aforementioned as a primary reason there are other factors,
so for convenience, we have highlighted, what we think are other contributory
factors.

Recognizing
the Common Causes

As
organisations develop their fleet safety programs and the type of training
their drivers should receive, they need to understand these common factors and
align programs to include same.

Because fleet
drivers have higher exposure (up three times according to experts), and hence
three times the risk of getting into a rear-end collision greater attention
must be paid.

It is no
surprise that (ultimately) the leading cause of rear-end collisions is distracted
driving as a result of drivers trying to use a GPS app or make a call and as a
result they may take their eyes off the road.

As winter
sets in, with decreased hours of light, a driver needs to adjust his or her
driving behaviour to accommodate this in everyday driving.

Impaired
driving is another reason why rear-end collisions occur. Impaired driving isn’t
just driving while under the influence of alcohol. It could be caused by drowsy
driving or certain types of medication which are purchased over the counter...

The main
takeaway for fleet drivers is to remain alert at all times. Cell phones,
sipping coffee, or changing the radio station can wait. Keeping their eyes on
the road and being aware of their surroundings takes precedent.

Many fleet
drivers and sales persons who are on the road a lot have forgotten that, when
they are behind the wheel, that’s not the office, it’s time to drive.

Combating
the Situation

The
practical approach to preventing rear-end collisions is providing driver
training. In the Company context Fleet managers can introduce this training as
soon as the driver is hired.

If fleet
drivers aren’t doing the training, or a strong emphasis is not being placed on
safety, then there will be a rise in collisions and expenses among many fleet
owners.

There is
also technology available to fleets that can aid in the prevention of these
collisions. Collision avoidance systems (CAS) that are being equipped on some
vehicle line ups or plug-and-play devices can make a real dent in the frequency
of rear-end collisions.

Another more
common way a driver can prevent distracted driving is to put his or her phone
on airplane mode, this will help eliminate the urge to look at the phone or
text.

The best
preventative measure that fleet managers can take, while relatively expensive,
is to integrate vehicles into their fleets that are equipped with autonomous
emergency braking and collision avoidance systems — either from the OEM or an
aftermarket provider.

Other
contributors to rear-end collisions are speeding, tailgating or hazardous
weather but as indicated at the outset, too close a following distance (which
can be caused by any one or combination of the above) is the one that causes
the most chaos on highways.

Till next
time - Be sure to keep an eye on what's going on in front and behind you.


Eugene Herbert





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