Preventing Farm Vehicle Backover Incidents

Farm

One of the things that Washington state, where I live, is known for is it’s apple and cherry orchards. There are numerous other orchards, farms and vineyards. We have a large part of the  population that is employed by them and because these workers do their job surrounded by tractors and farm vehicles, there’s a real danger of backover incidents.

A backover incident is when a “backing vehicle strikes a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling behind that vehicle.” Preventing backover incidents is one of the priorities for OSHA in 2016.

To help address the issue OHSA has published a new 4 page downloadable fact sheet entitled “Preventing Farm Vehicle Backover Incidents“.

Lots of great information and procedures to protect any and all personnel working around vehicles.

 


My Car Does What?

mycardoeswhat

From mycardoeswhat.org:

Nearly every car on the roads today has safety features that can help drivers be safer. You may already know some of these, and some you may not even realize your car has! Come back to this page often as more and more features are being developed and added to cars. You can also check out our blog for the latest developments in car safety technology.

What?

MyCarDoesWhat.org is a national campaign to help educate drivers on new vehicle safety technologies designed to help prevent crashes. These technologies range from increasing the stability and control of cars to providing warnings about crash threats to automatically intervening to avoid or reduce the severity of a crash.

Why?

The goal of this campaign is to explain to drivers how best to use these safety technologies, leading to safer driving.

Who?

The National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.

The University of Iowa
Vehicle safety researchers at the University of Iowa have done research and development of automotive safety technologies for over 20 years. They work to improve vehicle technology design through a better understanding of how drivers perform and behave in crash situations. Their research-driven program works at the intersection of safety technology and public policy. The program’s areas of research include: human factors and human behavior, advanced in-vehicle safety technologies, driver distraction, teen driving, crash analysis and autonomous vehicle policy.



No Child Left Behind

No, the title of today’s’ post has nothing to do with education. It has to do with children behind left behind in vehicles and dying of heat exposure.

Most of us respond with shock every time we hear of another child forgotten in a vehicle. “How can anyone forget their child like that?” we ask. However much we’d like to believe that only a bad parent would forget a child in a vehicle, the truth of the matter is that both fathers and mothers are equally likely to do it; wealthy and poor makes no difference either; neither does education or mental awareness or intelligence. In fact, if you think “It could never happen to me! I could never do something like that!” you’re more likely to do it because you aren’t going to take the precautions necessary to make sure it never does happen.

As temperatures rise, even a few minutes alone in a car can result in heat stress, dehydration and death for infants and small children. I won’t go over all the numbers about how hot it can get and what it does to a small child; I’ve covered that before on this blog. What I am going to do is to give you a few tips to try to help make sure that you never have to live through the nightmare of realizing you’ve killed your own child because somehow, even though it could never happen to you, it somehow did and you forgot your child in the car.

1. NEVER, EVER, leave your child alone in the car, even for a couple of minutes while you “pop” in somewhere. Don’t trust your memory. You could easily bump into someone you know and start talking, get distracted, fall, or have an accident. Even if you’re only popping into the post office to mail a package, take the child with you, always! Additionally everyone is now being told to call 911 if they see a child left alone in a vehicle. You could end up in a legal battle to keep your child and judges and juries are getting tougher all the time on this issue. It gets tried as “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” or “child neglect”. You could stand a good chance of having the state put your child in a foster home.

2. Put your purse next to the car seat instead of in the front passenger seat. You’ll look for your purse and remember the child in the back seat.

3. Keep a large doll or teddy bear in the car seat when the child isn’t in the seat and move the doll or  teddy bear  to the front passenger seat whenever the child is in the car seat. Seeing the doll or teddy bear in the passenger seat as you get to your destination will remind you the child is there.

4. Hang a tag with your child’s name on it over the rear-view mirror every time you put the child in the car seat. Make sure it’s big enough and visible enough to be hard to ignore or get used to. Only hang it there when the child is in the vehicle.

5. Make arrangements with your daycare worker or care-takers to ALWAYS call you if and when you don’t drop the child off at the usual time.

Most of these tips are simple and easy to implement but they can make the difference between a life filled with happy memories and a life filled with grief and regret.

 


Vehicle Rollover Prevention App

The app is called VRPETERS. VRPETERS stands for Vehicle Rollover Prevention Education Training Emergency Reporting System and is designed to work on the iPhone or iPad mini to do a couple of different things.

VRPETERS-logo

First of all it uses a mathematical model to assess the stability of a motorized vehicle using “the physical parameters of the vehicle and the data from the inbuilt sensors of a mobile electronic device (smartphone, tablet computer) or from the wireless sensors installed on the vehicle.” When it senses that the vehicle is at risk of a rollover, it displays a warning message to the driver.

Secondly, if a rollover is detected it sends out a emergency notification to contacts you’ve set up when you install the app, letting them know that you were in an accident.

This app is going to be especially useful to farmers and tractor operators who work alone.

Among the VRPETERS advantages listed on their website:

VRPETERS can save lives by:

  • changing the human behavior as a training tool.
  • providing warning messages to the operator to prevent an accident.
  • reducing the deployment time of rescue teams.
  • providing the GPS coordinates, the date and time of an accident.
  • providing vital operator information (optional).

Learn more and/or download the app on the VRPETERS website.


Children in hot cars can suffer brain damage

With spring and summer just around the corner, it’s perhaps time to remind ourselves about the dangers represented by vehicles left in the sun, especially with children inside.

Studies have shown that the temperature inside a vehicle can rapidly rise to extremely dangerous levels. Children’s bodies are much more sensitive than adults bodies and their temperatures can rise 3 to 5 times faster (it’s a question of body mass. A chicken cooks faster than a turkey… no nasty insinuations intended). The effects on the child’s body can be disastrous with severe dehydration, seizures, brain damage and eventually death.

So here are the safety rules once again:

1. Never leave a child alone, unattended in a vehicle. NEVER! Even if you are just going to be 2 seconds (or so you think) take the child with you.

2. Make it a habit to always have your keys in your hands when you get out of the car. It’s just too easy to accidentally lock your keys in the car and if your child is strapped in his car seat he’s going to be in harm’s way by the time you get the vehicle unlocked.

3. Have a spare key somewhere you can get at it fast (magnetic key holder, wheel well, etc…) just in case safety rules # 2 fails. Especially if you have small children or consistently drive small children around, make sure you have a spare key somewhere where you can get to it fast if you accidentally lock your keys in your car.

4. When stopping for gas, pay at the pump. Take out a gas station credit card or do whatever you have to do to make sure you don’t have to go into the gas station to pay while leaving the child in the car.

5. Do not leave your vehicle unlocked when at home. Even if it isn’t a matter of protecting your car from burglars, it’s too easy for children to climb in an unlocked vehicle and end up locking themselves in. By the time you figure out what has happened, it might be too late. Always keep your car locked.

What about if you notice a child alone and unattended inside a vehicle?

1. call 911. They will ask about the vehicles’ license plate, the age of the child, the apparent condition of the child.

2. if the vehicle isn’t locked, open the doors to get air circulating. Provide shade for the child with a blanket, sunshade or coat until emergency services get there. If the child appears to be in distress, remove the child from the vehicle and stay close until emergency services arrive.



Seat Belt Safety Awareness

*** Traffic Safety Alert Bulletin ***

The May 2012 Click It or Ticket Mobilization will play a critical role in the effort to keep people safe on our nations roads and highways. From May 21 June 3, 2012 law enforcement agencies nationwide will conduct Click It or Ticket campaigns that incorporate zero-tolerance enforcement of safety belt laws with paid advertising and the support of government agencies, local coalitions and school officials to increase safety belt use and defend against one of the greatest threats to us all – serious injury or death in traffic crashes.

Its easy to recognize at least one popular national slogans:

  • Buckle Up For Safety
  • Seat Belts Save Lives
  • Buckle Up America
  • Click it or Ticket
Click It or Ticket is the current national and high-publicity law enforcement effort that gives people more of a reason to buckle up – the increased threat of a traffic ticket. Most people buckle up for safety and it is the law. 
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the chances of being killed at night in an automobile accident are three times higher than during daytime hours. Nighttime is also when seat belt use declines significantly. In 2011, more than 20,000 automobile occupants died in traffic accidents during nighttime hours, and 60 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
Adults of all ages should always wear their safety belts, even on short trips. The lap belt should fit snugly across the upper thighs and not ride up on the stomach. The shoulder part of the belt should fit across the collarbone and chest and not cut into the neck or face. People always make excuses for not wearing them. Here are the top 10 from the NHTSA:Click It or Ticket: Top 10 Excuses for Not Buckling Up

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Below are the top 10 excuses officers in New Mexico, Texas and across America hear for not buckling up, along with responses. NHTSA frequently hears similar excuses from highway safety offices and law enforcement across the nation.

1. I’m afraid of getting stuck in a crashed car. If you’re not buckled up at the time of a crash, you’re more likely to be killed or knocked unconscious and unable to get out of the car at all. I you are buckled up, you’re more likely to stay in place and remain conscious, in control of the vehicle, and able to make smart decisions.

2. It irritates the skin on my neck or chest. Most new vehicles have adjustable shoulder height positioners that let you to move the shoulder belt up or down for a more comfortable fit. In older cars, wear clothes with a higher neck to provide some extra padding.

3. It makes me feel restrained. That’s what it’s supposed to do. In a crash, it keeps you in your seat so you won’t be thrown around or out of the vehicle where you’re four times more likely to be killed than if you remain the car. Driver side seat belts are designed to allow free movement of the occupant until a crash occurs (or until you jam on your breaks!).

4. I’m too large to wear a seat belt. It doesn’t fit. You can purchase a seat belt extender, which can usually resolve this issue.

5. I can’t look over my shoulder before turns. Yes, you can. A seat belt doesn’t restrain your head; it restrains your chest.

6. I forgot. Most cars have annoying seat belt reminder systems that beep every minute or so when the seat belt isn’t buckled.

7. Nobody tells me what to do in my car. States have many traffic laws that mandate what people can or cannot do. It’s illegal to drive drunk; it’s illegal to speed; and it’s illegal to drive or ride without a seat belt.

Occupant Protection

8. I have an air bag. I don’t need a seat belt. Air bags are designed to work in conjunction with seat belts, not as a restraint system alone. They are not soft cushy pillows. They deploy at approximately 250 miles an hour (the blink of an eye) and begin to deflate immediately after deployment. If you’re not buckled up, you will land in the air bag. Since it starts to deflate immediately, you will still be at risk for crashing into the steering column or through the windshield. Additionally, your front bumper must impact the object to set off your air bag in the first place!

9. I can’t wear a seat belt because I can’t feed my baby with it on. If you’re driving, your eyes should be on the road. If you’re trying to feed your baby in the backseat, you can’t possibly be focusing your attention on the road and you are risking both of your lives. If you’re a passenger and need to feed your baby a bottle, sit in the back seat with the baby. Both of you should be properly restrained. Nursing mothers should never feed a baby while the vehicle is moving. If someone crashes into your car, the laws of physics will make it impossible for you to hold onto your baby. Pull over to a safe location to nurse.

10. I have a medical condition. I can’t wear it. This can be a valid excuse, but only if you have a written medical note from your doctor. Carry it in your purse or wallet so it remains with you if you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.

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The safest place in a vehicle for children to sit is in the back seat.

Use rear-facing child safety seats for infants from birth to at least 1 year, and at least 20 pounds. Infants in rear-facing child safety seats must never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side airbag.Use forward-facing child safety seats for children who are over age 1 and 20 pounds, to about age 4 and 40 pounds.

Children from age 4 to at least age 8, and under 4′ 9″ tall or weight 40-80 lbs, who have outgrown forward-facing child safety seats should use booster seats with a lap-shoulder belt. A booster seat raises a child up so that the safety belt fits correctly.

A child who is age 8 and 4′ 9″ or taller or weight 80 lbs or more can use a safety belt. The lap belt should rest low and fit snugly across the childs upper thighs. The shoulder belt should be centered on the shoulder and across the chest. The child should also be able to sit all the way back against the vehicle seat back with his or her knees bent comfortably over the edge of the seat.

Please remember the following guidelines when buying the proper safety seat for your child.

· Birth-1 Year, Up to 35 Pounds

o Use a rear-facing seat until your baby reaches the weight limit or height limit of the seat.

o Secure the chest clip even with your baby’s armpits.

o Fasten harness straps snugly against your baby’s body.

· 1-4 Years, 20 to 40 Pounds

o Use a forward-facing seat for as long as the safety seat manufacturer recommends it.

o Fasten harness straps snugly against your child’s body.

o Secure the chest clip even with your child’s armpits.

o Latch the tether strap to the corresponding anchor if your vehicle has one.

· 4-8 Years, Over 40 Pounds

o Use a booster seat.

o Fasten the lap belt across your child’s thighs and hips, not stomach.

o Strap the diagonal belt across the chest to rest on the shoulder, not the neck.

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TEENAGE DRIVERS SAFETY

Leading Cause of Death for Teens
The heart of NHTSA’s mission is keeping families safe on Americas roadways. Young drivers, ages 15- to 20-years old, are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

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We Know the Causes
Research shows which behaviors contribute to teen-related crashes. Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and other drug use aggravate this problem.

The Objective for 2012
Increasing seat belt use by teenage drivers, Implementing graduated driver licensing for states without (NM has it), and Reducing teens’ access to alcohol.

SEAT BELT SAFETY FOR PREGNANT WOMEN:

Safety belts also provide the best protection for expectant mothers and their unborn children. Pregnant women should place the shoulder belt across the chest between the breasts and away from the neck. The lap belt should fit across the hips/pelvis and below the stomach. Never place the shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm. Never place the lap belt on or above the stomach.

The Pregnant Womans Guide to Buckling Up

Air Bag Safety FactsFrontal dual airbag system

Airbags are designed to deploy only when they might be needed to prevent serious injury. In order for airbags to be effective they must deploy early in a crash; this typically occurs within the first 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) in a frontal crash and within the first 20 milliseconds (0.02 seconds) in a side crash. A vehicle’s airbag control module relies on feedback from sensors to predict whether a crash is severe enough to warrant airbag deployment. Older vehicles use front bumper only sensors for air bag deployment.

AIR BAG FACTS

· Air bags are safety devices designed to deploy in frontal but not other types of crashes. Most air bags will deploy only in a moderate-to-severe frontal crash.

· All new passenger cars were required to have driver and passenger air bags beginning with the 1998 model year. All new light trucks, including vans and sport utility vehicles, had the same requirement as of the 1999 model year.

· When all passenger vehicles are equipped with air bags, it is expected that more than 3,000 lives will be saved each year. (NHTSA)

· Driver air bags reduce deaths in frontal crashes by 50 percent for drivers wearing safety belts and 32 percent for unbelted drivers. Passenger air bags reduce deaths in frontal crashes by 14 percent for passengers wearing safety belts and 23 percent for unbelted passengers. (NHTSA)

· Occupants who are positioned too close to an air bag when it begins to deploy are at risk of serious injury. Since 1990, 149 deaths have been attributed to air bags deploying in low-speed crashes. (NHTSA) The deaths have included 68 children between ages 1 and 11, and 18 infants. (NHTSA) Of the 68 children killed, 54 are believed to have been unbuckled. (IIHS)

· Most air bag deaths have occurred when adults or children are not properly using safety belts or correctly placed in a child safety seat. Others are at risk due to positioning – such as drivers who are less than ten inches from the steering wheel and infants who are placed in rear-facing child safety seats near a passenger air bag. (NHTSA)

AIR BAG SAFETY FACTS

· Rear-facing child safety seats should NEVER be placed in the front seat of vehicles with passenger air bags. The impact of a deploying air bag on a rear-facing child safety seat can result in death or serious injury to the child. (NHTSA and IIHS)

· Steering wheel should be a minimum of 10 inches from the driver. Angle your wheel. By tilting your steering wheel downward, you ensure that when the airbag deploys it will do so towards your chest and not your head. If the airbag hits you too far up you can suffocate or suffer a serious head/neck injury.

· Hands on the steering wheel should be at least on the 9 and 3 oclock position or lower to reduce broken wrist/arms when airbag deployed.

· The safest place for children under age 12 is in the back seat, properly restrained, and away from the force of a deploying air bag. (NHTSA and IIHS)

· If children must sit in front, make sure the vehicle seat is all the way back and that the child is securely buckled and sitting back in the seat at all times. (NHTSA and IIHS)

· NHTSA has procedures in place to allow those who are at risk of injury from an air bag to obtain on/off switches for the air bag. Only a small percentage of people those who cannot avoid being seated too close to an air bag should obtain an on/off switch. Before obtaining an on/off switch, small-statured drivers should consider installing pedal extenders in their automobile or look into newly manufactured automobiles that have pedal adjusters included as standard equipment.

If you do not have an airbag shutoff switch, you can have one installed after obtaining permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

IMPROVED AIR BAG SAFETYSide airbags to protect the head and torso

· On September 18, 1998, NHTSA proposed new rules to improve air bag safety by requiring the introduction of advanced air bags over the next several years.

· These advanced air bag systems will increase air bag effectiveness and safety by reducing the risk of harm to out-of-position vehicle occupants from air bag deployment.

· The new air bag technology reduces air bag risks by adjusting or suppressing air bag deployment in instances in which an occupant would otherwise be at risk.

· Advanced air bags will enhance occupant protection and air bag safety but will not eliminate all risks. To make air bags as safe as possible, we also must increase safety belt and child safety seat use.

Motorcycles can also have frontal airbag, It is offered as an option on 2006 and later models of Honda’s Gold Wing touring motorcycle. Honda’s airbag is designed to deploy in severe frontal impacts and absorb some of the forward energy of the driver. No studies have been conducted into the real-world effectiveness of motorcycle airbags.

Honda Gold Wing with airbag

Honda Gold Wing touring motorcycle with frontal airbag

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno


Tire Safety Awareness and Tips

Put tires at top of car safe driving list

With winter fully upon us, it’s already a little late to get our vehicles ready for the rough weather and conditions ahead. Getting this accomplished before you need it is the way to go.

Some people call this winterizing and remember about anti-freeze, wiper fluid, water-grabbing gas additives and wiper blades.

While some climates aren’t as severe during the winter, these are all good things to take care of no matter where you call home, and at the top of the list is tires.
Tires


Most of us use all-season tires, so all we need to do is check the condition, age and pressure. The condition is the hard part … tread depth, road damage and sidewall cracks are some of the easy things to miss. Damage can be hard to find, so spend some time looking closely.

Don’t tolerate sidewall cracks. Sometimes called “dry rot,” and these deterioration patterns suggest the rubber is nearing the end of its lifespan. Trying to stretch this can leave you stranded or much worse, so you should have a professional inspect them. They know from experience there’s just no way to predict failure when these cracks start appearing.

If your tires are more than 5 years old, it’s time to think about replacing them. Every tire has a “birthday” stamped on the side, and the Department of Transportation requires tire manufacturers to follow a standard marking scheme. Of course, the tire’s birthday is in code. The “magic decoder ring,” which displays a tire’s birthday, is available on the DOT website.

The “US DOT Tire Identification Number” is stamped on the sidewall near the rim. On some tires, it’s hidden on the axle side, more commonly on raised white lettered tires. You might have to scoot around under the car a bit to find it. Once you find the code, it contains the tire’s birthday. The last four-digits of the DOT number reveal the week and year the tire came out of the factory, so 2809 would be the 28th week of 2009.

Tread depth is easy to remember and all you have to do is use a penny. Turn it upside down and if you can see the top of Lincolns head, YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TREAD!

 

Pressure
The only tire pressure you need to know is the one printed on the vehicle data plate. Most of these are on the driver’s side door jam. It displays the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, as their judgment of the best compromise between traction, handling, noise, wear, etc. They tune the suspension components around this number and have carefully determined how the tread contacts the road, called the contact patch, at that pressure. Any deviation makes you the test pilot.

The factory recommended pressure is a “cold” pressure. The engineers know the pressure will rise with heat, and if you are using the same size and brand the car was born with, no worries. But if you change the tires, you need to make sure the maximum allowable pressure for that tire (also printed on the tire sidewall) gives you some headroom as the tire heats up.

The only way to know how much margin you have is to stop and take a reading on a hot day after some time at highway speeds.

 

Temperature
That temperature sensitivity (about one psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit) means you have to adjust the tire pressure as the seasons change, typically in fall and spring. Now that summer is behind us, many people are probably seeing some tire-pressure warning lights if their vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system.

If you filled your tires when it was 95 degrees outside last July, when the temps dip into the 30s, you could be almost 10 psi low. It’s best to check first thing in the morning, and in the shade. That will give you a true “cold” reading.

 

Extra pressure
With gas prices still on the rise, there’s a temptation to “add a little extra” with thoughts of decreasing rolling resistance and increasing gas mileage. The extra air consumes your margin, and causes the contact patch to change shape. It mucks with the handling, wet traction and braking effectiveness, plus it makes the center of the tires wear out faster than the edges.

 

Nitrogen
There are tons of misinformation on the claimed benefits of using nitrogen in vehicle tires. It would take pages to dispute all the rhetoric out there on this subject, so look at the big ones. First, remember that air is around 80 percent nitrogen to begin with, so we aren’t talking huge differences to start out with.

There are claims that nitrogen is a good deal because it leaks out more slowly (backed up by pointing out nitrogen’s slightly larger molecular size). A consumer magazine took on this myth and found out it’s actually true, but on the order of one or two psi a year. Since you have to adjust your tire pressure at least twice a year anyway, that difference isn’t going to save you a trip to the air pump.

spare tire serves as a backup in case your car has a flat. Vehicles typically carry a spare tire mounted on a rim, to be used in the event of flat tire or flat tire. Many spare tires for modern cars are smaller than normal tires to save on trunk space, gas mileage, weight and cost and should not be driven far before replacement with a full-size tire. Jacks and for emergency replacement of a flat tire with a spare tire are included with a new car. Hand or foot pumps for filling a tire with air are available. Cans of pressurized “gas” can be bought separately for a convenient emergency refill.

Spare Tires

Spare tires come in a variety of sizes and versions. Many cars are equipped with temporary spare tires and wheels, which are noticeably different from regular tires and wheels. Some require higher inflation pressure, or the use of a pressurized canister to inflate the tire. The only type of spare tire that can be used without such restrictions is a conventional, full-sized spare that is the same as the other tires on the vehicle.

 

The Folding Spare- must be inflated with an air canister prior to mounting.
The Compact Spare- smaller and narrower than the other wheels on the vehicle.
The Lightweight Spare- the same diameter as the other tires on the vehicle but thinner.

These tires are:

  • labeled “temporary” spares because of their weight-saving construction.
  • are intended for emergency use only and not for sustained or high speed driving.
  • not to exceed 50 mph nor to travel further than 50 miles.

Maintenance Tips and Suggestions

Tire Air Pressure –Check the air pressure in your spare tire whenever you check tire pressure to be sure your spare is in top condition in the event of a flat tire.

Know How to Change Your Tire – Become familiar with the equipment needed for changing a tire and be sure essential tire-changing tools are in good repair and where they should be. Practice changing a tire. Always check your owner’s manual and the tire sidewall for instructions on proper use of a temporary spare.

  • Locate the jack, handle and lug wrench.
  • Know where the jack contacts the vehicle when raising it.
  • Locate the key for wheel locks.
  • Know how to access the spare tire.

A functional spare that is in good condition is a comfort. By avoiding the following pitfalls, you can be assured that your spare tire is in good form.

  • Under inflation – If your spare is low, it may shred on the way home or to the service facility. The distance you can travel before this happens is directly related to the tire’s inflation level. Check the pressure of the spare, as well as the other four tires every month.
  • Dry Rotting – Tires deteriorate with age. Tires do have a shelf life. After a period of time, they may begin to develop small cracks in the sidewall.
  • Inaccessibility – The leading reason spare tires fall victim to under inflation and dry rotting is inaccessibility. Clear out the trunk and check the spare or take your car to a shop and let an auto tech check your spare.

Spare Tire Safety

  • Most space saving spares are limited to 50 miles and 50 m.p.h. Replace a temporary spare with a full-size tire as soon as possible.
  • Keep your compact spare and its wheel together and do not use them on another car.
  • Do not use tire chains on a space saving spare. They won’t fit and will damage the car as well as the chains.
  • Do not drive through a car wash that pulls the car along guide rails with a spare on your car. The spare can get caught on the rail and damage the tire, wheel and very possibly other parts of your car.

The bottom line is keeping up with the tire pressure is probably the single most important user-safety and gas-savings task you can accomplish, and it does take some intervention as the seasons change. However, this is not the place to get creative. Follow the factory numbers, check it often and stay safe.

Information provided by NHTSA and NSC.

Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

koswald@plateautel.com


Preventing Vehicle Fires

Stumble It! Digg! Add to Mixx! Pownce

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that some 93% of home in America have fire detection alarms installed. Unfortunately, vehicles do not, which is partly the reason why there are more than a quarter of a million car fires each year (As reported by the National Fire Protection Association). This resulted in over 1 Billion dollars in damages as well as almost 500 deaths and some 12,000 injuries.

Summer weekends were the highest risk for vehicle fires and most are caused by mechanical failures, including overheating.

Preventing Vehicle Fires

  • Annual maintenance should eliminate a huge number of vehicle fires. If, as we have stated, mechanical failures are the number one cause, then annual inspections by a certified mechanic will identify most problem before they turn into something serious enough to cause a fire.
  • Constant inspections by the driver mean paying attention to leaks, cracked hoses, frayed belts and electrical shorts. It also means noticing changes in the way that your vehicle sounds or operates. It means paying attention to the temperature gauge, making sure that the oil level is good, that the car isn’t backfiring or emitting smoke or idling too high. Ignoring these issues can lead to a more serious problem that could cause a vehicle fire.

What to do if the car catches fire

AAA has come up with an easy three-step procedure…

Stop – Pull the car to the side of the road and shut it off. Shutting off the engine shuts down the fuel pump which might otherwise add fuel to the fire.

Get out – Never stay in a burning or smoking vehicle no matter how small the fire or how little the amount of smoke. A small fire can spread fast and/or ignite gasoline, causing an explosion. Make sure that you also stay away from the flow of traffic. Getting safety away from a burning vehicle isn’t much good if you get hit by oncoming traffic.

Call – Use a cell phone or flag down someone to call 911. Stay clear of the vehicle and let the fire department handle the fire.