Transcript from the video:

Driver Safety in the Pest Control Industry

with pest expert Matthew Hess

The following is a transcript from our video on Driver Safety in the Pest Control Industry:

Accidents can occur at any time and it’s evident from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest Traffic Safety Report that distracted driving resulted in 3,522 fatalities in 2021, speeding caused 12,330 deaths, and drowsy driving claimed 684 lives. As a pest control expert, your regular route could expose you to any of these risks. Therefore, it’s crucial to always keep in mind the importance of safe driving while on the road.

As pest control professionals, we have a crucial role in practicing responsible pesticide use. It’s important to remember that this also includes safe driving practices. If we get into an accident while transporting pesticides, there’s a higher risk of spills occurring in areas where they shouldn’t be used. This can result in violating our duties and responsibilities as professionals.

Although accidents cannot always be avoided, we can lower the likelihood of crashes by following straightforward road safety guidelines.

Avoid Distracted Driving

What exactly is distracted driving? It’s an activity that diverts your attention from the road while you are driving. As a pest control professional, you may be distracted by several things such as texting, phone calls, looking through paperwork or route software, eating, drinking, a sprayer or insecticide bottle tipping over, using navigation software, and the typical distractions that most other drivers face.

Having been a pest control technician, I understand the temptation to take phone calls and text while driving, but I urge you to resist. Your safety and the safety of others on the road depend on your attention to the task at hand. Instead, try these:

  • Pull off the road to text or take a call.
  • Be sure to plan your route and schedule ahead of time.
  • Use hands-free devices to answer important calls.
  • Take a few minutes for lunch.
  • Ensure that your work vehicle is equipped with proper securing devices so that insecticides and sprayers won’t tip over.
  • Plus, while driving, keep your mind focused on the road.

By doing these, you’ll increase your chances of arriving safely at your next destination, back to the office, and finally home at the end of the day. Remember, you’ll do no one any good if you’re dead!

Wear Your Seatbelt

Despite the fact that the vast majority of drivers adhere to laws regarding the use of seatbelts, the numbers drastically decrease in commercial motor vehicles. At Four Seasons Pest Solutions, we take driver safety very seriously. Each of our technicians is required to read, agree to, and sign our Driver Safety Policy, which includes a mandate for the use of seatbelts in company vehicles. This not only helps keep the cost of our fleet insurance rates more affordable, but it also ensures that our technicians have a greater chance of making it home to their families if an accident occurs. By actively enforcing this policy, we prioritize the safety of our team and those around us.

Seatbelt Facts:

  • All states in the US, except for New Hampshire, have laws mandating the use of seatbelts in the front seat.
  • When occupants wear seatbelts during crashes, there is a 45% decrease in serious injuries and a 50% decrease in fatalities.
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt can result in an astounding 30 times higher risk of being ejected from a crashed vehicle.
  • Not wearing a seatbelt can negatively impact your insurance rates.

Get Plenty of Rest Each Night

Fatigue can cause a driver to operate in a manner that mimics drunk driving. When a driver hasn’t had ample rest, cognitive functions become impaired, driving performance suffers and crashes ensue. All this can be easily avoided by getting plenty of rest each night.

As pest control professionals, much of our day is spent behind the wheel. In the cities, we face tight surroundings, angry drivers, one-way streets, and traffic jams. In the country, we face animals on the highways, long distances between stops, and farm-related traffic. Each of these creates environments where we might feel pressed for time. After all, we have a schedule to keep and something or somebody is always in our way. But if we’re tired, fatigued, and ready for a long nap, we’re much more likely to make a poor judgment call or fall asleep behind the wheel than if we’ve had adequate rest.

To stay alert while driving, here are some tips on how to avoid driving drowsy:

  • Try to avoid driving between midnight and 6:00 am. These are the peak hours when drowsy driving is most likely to occur.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before driving. Even if it’s less than the “legal limit” it can cause drowsiness and impaired or slowed judgment.
  • Steer clear of driving while taking medications that may induce drowsiness as a side effect.
  • Get adequate rest each night. Most people require a minimum of 6 hours of sleep. Getting 8 hours is optimal and can reduce fatigue during your workday.

If you find yourself driving drowsy, try these short-term tips:

  • Pull off the road to a safe place and take a 20-30 minute “power nap”.
  • Try a cup or two of coffee or an energy drink after a quick power nap.
  • Whatever you do, if you’re feeling drowsy behind the wheel, do us all a favor and get off the road!

Keep Calm and Carry On

As summertime approaches, the roads become even busier, leading to a surge in road rage incidents across the nation’s highways. Frustration can easily build up towards other drivers, particularly those who drive in the left lane and ignore the flow of traffic, those who drive too slowly, and those who intentionally impede traffic by preventing its proper flow. To alleviate the issue, drivers should maintain a calm demeanor and actively communicate with other drivers through the use of turn signals and gestures. By doing so, we can promote safer and more courteous driving habits on our roads.

When confronted with challenges while behind the wheel, keep calm and carry on! It’s important to remain composed and drive defensively to avoid road rage. As a professional driver, your behavior behind the wheel should reflect professionalism and responsibility. Remember, there is always a possibility of someone recording your actions on social media, don’t let it be your actions. Let’s stay safe on the road and keep our cool.

To reduce the possibility of road rage, you can practice a few simple tips:

  • Maintain a 3-second distance behind other vehicles in good driving conditions.
  • Allow 4 to 8 seconds when roads are wet or icy.
  • Drive the posted speed limit.
  • Have your route planned before your vehicle moves.
  • Keep your lane changes to a minimum.
  • Use less traveled roads during peak hours.

When faced with less-than-optimal driving conditions, take these proactive steps to ensure your safety. Don’t let other drivers ruin your day or cause you to put yourself and others at risk. By taking these measures, you can become a more confident and secure driver. If you’re in a Four Seasons Pest Solutions vehicle or any other company vehicle, take time to drive like a representative of a respectable and professional company. Everybody’s watching!

Keep calm and carry on, and remember that your next customer, your coworkers, and your family are all waiting for you.