How to stay safe in an accident

Vehicle accidents are traumatic events that we do our best to avoid every time we hit the road. However, sometimes things go wrong. Whether it's due to a lapse in attention or minor mistake, accidents can and will happen. 

There are preventative actions drivers should take that give them a better chance of emerging uninjured should they be involved in an accident. Fleet managers should make an effort to check that all vehicles and drivers are prepared to stay safe on the road. 

Wear your seatbelt properly

This one sounds obvious, but when different drivers are swapping vehicles often, it can be something that falls by the wayside. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US provided strict guidelines for their use, ensuring they operate at maximum effectiveness in the event of an accident. 

It advises the belt should worn with as little slack as possible, otherwise it will not be able to restrain you properly in a collision. For this to work properly, drivers and passengers also need to be seated correctly. This means having the seat upright at all times, and avoiding slouching and putting feet on the dash, as this compromises safety systems. 

Secure loose items

Research performed by Intel and the University of California discovered that vehicles have 4.3 loose items in the cabin on average. These pose serious safety concerns in a crash as the extreme forces will send them flying around the vehicle's interior. Even smaller devices such as smartphone could pose a risk if drivers are hit by them with enough force. 

This includes more than just inanimate objects, with pets and other animals also requiring safe restraining to keep them and drivers or passengers safe in an impact. 

Be prepared

All cars and drivers should have the necessary equipment to ensure they can get out of the car safely and begin administering aid to themselves or others. For this reason, a first aid kit should be standard in all fleet vehicles so drivers can look after themselves and other victims while waiting for emergency services. 

Other options include a range of tools that are specifically designed for survival situations. It's common for seatbelts to jam in particularly heavy accidents, which may require you to cut yourself or others free. 

For drivers who often travel through remote areas, it might be necessary to take this up a notch with a survival kit, especially if they are crossing the outback regularly.