Fleet Safety: Collision Imminent

Mar 21, 2011

Here’s another Automotive Fleet safety tip to pass on to your drivers.  This time they’re looking at what to do when you know a collision is about to occur:

In most cases, a driver can turn the vehicle quicker than he or she can stop it. Consider whether turning will help avoid the collision. Make sure you have a good grip with both hands on the steering wheel. Once you have turned away or changed lanes, you must be ready to keep the vehicle under control. Some drivers steer away from one collision only to end up in another. Always steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go. 

With ABS: A valuable feature of ABS is that you can turn your vehicle while braking with less or no skidding. But do not "jerk" the steering wheel (steer violently) while braking if you have ABS. Doing so may send you farther to the side than intended, because the vehicle will continue to respond to steering input while ABS is working. Practice using ABS in an empty parking lot so you know how the vehicle will respond. 

Without ABS: If you do not have ABS, you must use a different procedure to turn quickly. You should step on the brake pedal, then let up and turn the steering wheel. Braking will slow the vehicle, put more weight on the front tires, and allow for a quicker turn. Do not lock up the front wheels while braking or turn so sharply that the vehicle can only plow ahead. 

Remember, generally it is better to run off the road than to crash head-on into another vehicle. Don't swerve into the opposing lane; turn to the right, going off the roadway if necessary.

Photo courtesy of thomasfredrick and re-used under the Creative Commons license.