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Drive Safely, Comfortably, and A ...

Posted Dec 13 2008 11:26pm

Drive Safely, Comfortably, and Alertly - Don’t Crash Into Tankers!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 19:42

Today’s topic is brought to you by the second giant gas tanker melt down in the East Bay Area in two years. Around 6 am this morning, an Acura c rashed into a gas tanker carrying 8,600 gallons of gas on South Interstate 880 in downtown Oakland, right near an area so tangled with freeways it’s known as the MacArthur Maze. News stories so far have focused on the crash’s affect on today’s commute (always a topic of conversation around here), and it isn’t immediately apparent what caused the crash. A drunk, sleepy or suicidal commuter, or a careless tanker driver?

No matter the reason, it’s apparent how destructive a car crash can be. Last year’s meltdown on 580 burned the freeway into fabric-like swathes of cement and cost billions of taxpayer money to fix, not to mention slowing commuter traffic and clogging side streets for months. It remains to be seen what long term affect this tragedy will have, but in the meantime, drivers need to consider their own responsibility for driving safely, by making sure they stay alert on the road.

Driving’s never fun, and often it’s downright uncomfortable, both because of vehicle ergonomics and the stress of heavy traffic. Both are important to safety, because if you’re uncomfortable and stressed, you’re less likely to stay alert and drive safely.

So take these tips to heart, to make sure you’re driving comfortably and avoiding accidents!

Use a backrest and adjust the chair – The seats may look comfortable, but after a few hours your back might tell you otherwise. One solution is a backrest. In addition, make sure to adjust your chair to the right position, giving yourself enough support for your lower back, and letting your shoulders relax.

Use a padded steering wheel cover — Did you know that gripping a vibrating steering wheel can hurt your hands? Many construction workers wear padded gloves to protect their hands from potential nerve damage caused by the vibrations of their equipment. You can protect your hands by using a padded wheel cover that dampens some of the vibration from the car motor.

Use cruise control on freeways — Have you ever driven all day on a road trip, then realized you’d strained your ankle? All that breaking and pushing the gas pedal can wear out your fragile ankles, so use cruise control whenever you can. But while you do, make sure to stay alert, and stay poised to hit the break, and keep steering.

Take stretch breaks – There’s no getting around the fact that cars are tiny, restrictive compartments. If you’re driving more than an hour, make sure you pull over, get out and stretch. Give your muscles some time to relax and recover, and so you don’t get stiff. Stand up and walk around to get your blood flowing and energy up. You’ll be a more alert, safer driver too.

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