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POWER TRUCK SAFETY
Power trucks move a lot of stuff fast. And they don't have to be a bit more dangerous than hand trucks. But if we misuse power trucks, they become deadly, just as any kind of power can be deadly. Those of you that drive power trucks, remember these three rules:
- Don't drive too fast for the conditions.
- Always check both front and back before starting your truck.
- Drive defensively — always ready to protect yourself against the other person's mistake.
The first point about speed is the same point safety men keep hammering at highway drivers. There isn't any such thing as the safe speed. The safe speed in a given situation depends upon the conditions — and that statement takes in a lot of territory. Condition includes the condition of the truck itself—how good its brakes are, how heavy a load it carriers, how high that load is. Condition includes the condition of the surface covered — how rough it is, whether there is any wetness or oil that might be slippery, how sharp the turns are, what kind of obstructions there are to visibility, and so on. Condition includes the state or traffic — other vehicles and pedestrians. Finally, conditions include the condition of the driver—whether or not his eyes are good, whether he is fresh or tired, whether he is alert or thinking about something else.
Any bad condition — in your vehicle, the surface, the traffic or yourself is a warning to cut speed.
The second point — the front and back check before starting up — is very important. Once a truck comes to a stop, people are likely to forget that it will ever move again. They are likely to get in front or back of it, to work, to talk, or just to loaf. So be sure the road is clear before you start — even if that means walking around your load to see what is behind it.
Now on this defensive driving — that's simple common sense. In this plant there are a lot of people and a lot of trucks. Some people who walk or drive in this plant are smart, alert, on their toes. But some of them aren't. And you can't , while you're driving in the plant, always tell which is which. You've got to figure that sooner or later, if you stay on this job, other workers will do just about every stupid thing imaginable when you are near them. They'll walk in front of you without looking. They'll stack material in aisles. They'll push or drive trucks right in your road.
There's no maybe about these things — they'll happen sooner or later. And the only thing that will keep those stupid acts from turning into accidents is your alertness to defend yourself and the other guy by the kind of defensive driving that is based on expecting the other guy to be wrong.
If you expect that, you won't be surprised, and you'll be ready to stop or swing to avoid trouble. Most of all, you'll have your speed under control so that stops and turns are possible when the trouble does appear.
So drive by those three rules — a safe speed for all conditions, a check front and back before starting your truck, and a solid defensive driving plan that is based on figuring the other guy to be a dope.
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