A Safety Message About Driving Safety, Accident Prevention and Attitude

“The Road To Safety”

Everyone asked, “How could anyone make such a terrible mistake?”

Here’s the story.  A tragic accident on the reversible High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in Pittsburgh was a traffic engineer’s nightmare.  The reversible HOV lanes were added to Interstate 279 in 1989 to ease rush hour congestion.  Not everyone knew how they worked.

In this case, the driver of a car carrying six people to lunch made a wrong turn and wandered onto the expressway when the HOV gates were opened early by mistake.  The car was hit head-on by a pickup truck coming in the opposite direction. Five in the car and a passenger in the truck were killed in a fiery crash.

After witnesses came forward, a transportation department employee admitted he opened the entry gates to the reversible lanes before closing the entry gates in the opposite direction. He only realized his mistake when he saw cars coming toward him on the one-way roadway.  The highway department employee was fired from his job and later pled guilty to six counts of involuntary manslaughter.

High-speed motor vehicle collisions are so severe they are horrible to comprehend.  But like most other accidents, they can be prevented.  The right move by any one of the key players in this tragedy would have prevented it.  The driver entered a high-speed roadway without knowing where she was going. The driver of the pick-up truck did not look for on-coming traffic because at that time of day he thought he had the right of way. The accident could not have happened if the highway department employee had done his job by the book.

Behind the wheel of your car or on-the-job, there’s only one way-the safe way.

*Know and follow all safety rules.  They are for your protection. These rules, combined with your common sense, can help you avoid most if not all accidents.

*Suggest safer work practices.  You’re the one doing the job.  If you know a safer way to get it done, suggest it to your supervisor.  He or she will appreciate your initiative , and you may spare yourself or your coworker from an accident.

*Keep a safety attitude. Approach every job with fresh eyes and stay alert to possible hazards.  Stay focused on the task at hand.  Involve your coworkers in safety.  And always keep your emotions in check on the job.

THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY THE SAFE WAY

*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety

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