28 Nov Winter Driving on the Job
Most of us know that waiting to get our summer tires removed and winter tires installed is the easy part of dealing with cold weather automotive concerns. The wiser of us understand that the latest and greatest in snow tire technology are no match for black ice, other dangerous road conditions and human error that could befall us over the coming months.
But do our working kids know that?
In Ontario, work related motor vehicle incidents (MVIs) are a leading cause of injuries and deaths on the job. We know that new drivers have more MVIs than average given their inexperience and other factors. Still, driving is not considered by many employers as a ‘skill’ and so young workers are commonly asked to do delivery runs.
Parents and other adult influencers of young workers can play an important part in protecting their safety as well as those around them. As always, it involves good communication.
Ask them about their workdays and if any driving is involved. If so, probe for more details. Ask them if they are comfortable with driving for work as well as the vehicles that they are asked to drive. Even smaller delivery vehicles that are no larger than most cars may not have rear windows and require drivers to be skillful enough to rely on mirrors only. Winter road conditions should also be a topic of conversation. They may not have had that much winter driving under their belt and need to be aware of the extra caution that needs to be in place when dealing with snow, freezing rain and ice.
If they are driving for work reluctantly they need to know they have options. They may need your support and coaching in how to deal with their employers to respectfully explain how they feel and if necessary, refuse to take on driving duties.
The other thing is to talk to them about the high rate of car crashes caused by distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. These are sensitive areas for young people and information needs to be shared in an objective, non-accusatory way.
By asking the right questions, really listening and sharing key information you can help your young worker on the road to injury-free, positive work experiences.