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Ask The Experts

A Common Occurrence – The Rear-end Collision:

Q. Thank you for sending out the Driver Advantage newsletter each month. I use it as part of my safety talks with our sales team and the equipment technicians who are on the road serving our clients.

Recently we have had a number of our drivers being rear-ended while sitting at a stop light. Could you provide some information I could share with our team to reduce this type of collision?

Thank you,

Health & Safety Specialist

A. J.M., we appreciate your efforts to promote driver safety, and for the being a loyal reader of “The Driver Advantage™” e-newsletter. It is great to hear people like yourself are sharing the information with your drivers.

Motorists being rear-ended is a common collision, and is often viewed as an incident that is unavoidable. NHTSA reports that 87 percent of rear-end collisions happen because the driver isn’t paying attention to the road and hits the vehicle in front of them.

To reduce the risk of being hit when sitting at a stop light:

  • Leave an out… ask yourself “what if.” Where am I headed if the vehicle behind me does not stop? Train your mind to make the assumption that the person behind you will not stop.
  • Scan Mirrors… many times when sitting at a traffic light, we lose focus of our surroundings and we may allow our mind to drift away from the task of driving. Stay focused and continuously scan your mirrors for the activity behind you.
  • “Park” the Vehicle Behind You… When you approach a stop light don’t coast. Instead engage your brakes to alert the driver behind you that you intend to slow down and stop. Position your vehicle one and a half car lengths behind the traffic light line or behind the vehicle in front of you. Once the car behind you slows and comes to a full stop, slowly move forward a few feet without fully taking your foot off of the brake pedal to create a gap between you and the vehicle behind you. In most instances, the car behind you will stay parked off your bumper by 3 to 4 feet. You now created a safety cushion in front of you as well as in the rear. Keeping an eye on your mirrors, if you notice a problem coming your way, you now have this safety cushion and extra time to move forward or turn into an adjacent lane, if safe, to avoid the fender bender.

Remember, encourage your team to stay focused on driving… an alert, well-trained driver will reduce the risk of automobile crashes.

This question was answered by:

Ben Langley is the Safety Editor for “The Driver Advantage™”. Ben is a passionate proponent for driver safety education, training and awareness. Continuously submerged in research targeting human behavior and driver safety; Ben initiates creative thinking that is evident in his writings. Ben also develops unique, exciting and results oriented driver safety programs and campaigns. His knowledge and common sense approach to driver safety is wrapped with authentic concern for people. Ben is also the co-found of Safety Wins, Inc. a 501©(3) non-profit organization. The Safety Wins concept of training fleet drivers at NASCAR Race Tracks throughout America was federally and privately funded. Today, Safety Wins, Inc focuses on Teen Driver Safety and continues to use the platform of motorsports to attract attention to their life saving driver safety message. Contact the author

- has written 50 posts on Driving Dynamics.


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