Safety in Traffic

            What are some of the things you must do to avoid accidents when driving in traffic? Think about it, most of us believe we do them while on “auto-pilot”, we don’t think about it we just do it!  But really think about those things you have trained yourself to do to keep you out of an accident. There is always room for improvement, and sometimes we take short cuts that may some day develop into an auto accident that we or someone else won’t walk away from. That is why this tailgate safety topic discusses causes to in-town traffic accidents and ways you can prevent them.

            Many municipal employees spend a lot of time on their city streets as they are working. On any street you are likely to see delivery vans, couriers, salespeople and utility persons making frequent stops as they conduct their business. In large population areas some people spend many hours in traffic just going to and from work. Even if your time on the road is brief, every hour on the road increases your chance of having an accident.

            Certainly speed is a factor in many accidents. Frequently accidents happen simply because a driver is going to fast. City streets usually have speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less. In high pedestrian areas speed limits may be as low as 5 miles per hour. Speed limits are carefully selected to minimize the chances of an accident. When traffic is heavy, there just is not very much distance between you and the next vehicle to stop. The slower you go the more likely you will be able observe your surroundings, taking note of cyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles. Observing the speed limit is certainly one way to reduce your chance of an accident. Remember on rainy, foggy, snowy, or icy days your speed should be even lower.

            When you are making a stop at a destination be sure to park your vehicle carefully. Avoid leaving it in a space that is likely to block traffic or create a blind spot for other drivers or pedestrians. As you exit the vehicle look both ways before stepping into the street or sidewalk. This will help you avoid being hit by another vehicle or a cyclist/pedestrian (on the sidewalk). If you are unloading materials from your vehicle make sure it does not obstruct your vision. It is better to make several trips than to overload yourself and make it difficult to see on coming traffic. It will also help prevent tripping and falling over objects in your path.

            Perhaps the main cause of accidents in traffic is a simple matter of not paying attention. In traffic, it is easy to become distracted, frustrated, and annoyed. Any of these can cause you to pay less attention than you should. This often results in rear-end collisions when the vehicle in front of your suddenly stops. Running stoplights and signs is also a possibility if you are not paying attention. Many times paying attention to the wrong things while driving causes accidents. Reading addresses on buildings, street signs, and maps while driving can lead to an accident. You are better off to find a place to pull over safely and determine where you are going. Some other big distractions are scanning the radio stations, eating, and talking on a cell phone or radio while driving. 

            Fatigue is also a contributor to traffic accidents. After a long day’s work, or perhaps a morning when you didn’t get enough rest the night before, you are likely to feel tired and sluggish. Fatigue causes you to be more easily distracted and slows your reflexes. Don’t take chances driving when you feel too tired to be safe. If fatigue is a frequent problem, see your doctor. For occasional fatigue, combat it with adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise. 

            To drive safely in traffic you must keep your speed down, pay attention, and avoid driving when you are tired. Following these precautions can prevent many accidents and injuries. Plan to make it home to your family and friends at the end of the workday. Think about your driving at work and on the way home.


Contact OMAG Loss Control Services if you have questions or suggestions for other topics related to Municipal Workplace Safety Issues. 1 (800) 234-9461 or email  

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