School is back in session, which means there will be more kids on city streets mornings and afternoons. This month, we also look at ways to avoid dangerous situations and what you need to know in the event you get into an accident.

Back to School Again

  • With summer ending and school starting back up, please watch out for children standing or walking along side of the road and crossing streets. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.
  • Always remember to STOP if you are approaching a school bus with a stop sign or flashing red lights, whether you approach from the front or behind. It is the LAW.
  • Make a mental note of all the schools, playgrounds and other areas frequented by children that you pass through during your usual work shift.
  • Watch out for children distracted by their hand-held devices as they walk.


Anticipating Potential Danger

Experts say more than 90% of accidents can be avoided if drivers use defensive driving skills. Always stay alert and engaged to avoid vehicle damage, driver and passenger injuries, as well as injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.


Nighttime Driving

More accidents occur at night than any other time of day. The reason is simple: It is much harder to see at night, making it more difficult to react quickly to a dangerous situation.

  • Keep your windshield clean to improve vision.
  • Turn lights on a half-hour before sunset.
  • Increase following distance to four seconds.
  • Be extra careful on curves and at intersections.
  • Switch from high to low beams to keep from blinding other drivers.
  • If you have mechanical trouble, pull completely off the road and use your flashers.
  • As professional drivers you should have your eyes examined ANNUALLY and understand that your night vision naturally diminishes as you age.


Tips for Senior Drivers (By Dr. Todd Mitchell)

  • Do what is necessary to reach and maintain a healthy weight – including exercise and proper nutrition.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Involve family members and friends in your health care.
  • Partner with a doctor for preventive maintenance.
  • Read to stimulate your brain.
  • Sleep to rejuvenate your body.
  • Regularly practice safe driving skills.
  • Understand any medical condition(s) you may have and keep any necessary medications on hand at all times.
  • Ensure good vision and hearing through regular eye and ear exams.


In the Event of an Accident

  • Always take pictures of the cars involved in an accident and take photos of the scene as well (both close up and from a distance). Save all photos and videos you take at the scene and provide them to your broker.
  • Notify your insurance broker or insurance company as soon as possible.
  • When conditions permit, always move to the shoulder or a “safe area” to prevent further damage or injuries.
  • Remember the three Cs when telling your version of the accident: Be calm, courteous and consistent.
  • Always obtain complete information from everyone involved (including other drivers and passengers).
  • Always complete the accident report at the scene of the accident (obtain all responding police or emergency personnel badge and ID numbers).
  • Obtain the names of witnesses, including addresses and phone numbers.
  • Never “make a deal” for damages at the scene. Never offer to pay anything even if you think you are at fault.
  • Never leave the scene, even in a minor accident or if you feel sure it wasn’t your fault – especially if a pedestrian is claiming an injury.
  • Never administer aid unless you are licensed to do so; instead call 911.
  • Always cooperate with your broker making an inquiry regarding an accident. Please note that the prompt handling of any claim depends upon your cooperation and response to any written or telephone correspondence.
Article by Bertram Merling

Bertram Merling is the Loss Control Coordinator for the Hereford Insurance Company.

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