Spotlight Tip of the Week
Winter driving calls for special skills and a bit of preparation. Here are some tips that may keep you warm and safe this winter as you travel for work and pleasure.
- Before you travel, make a travel plan for the entire trip. Schedule stops every 2-3 hours, and leave a travel itinerary with someone from your departing location and with someone at your arrival location. Google Maps is a great way of making a trip plan.
- If your route does take you through inclement weather, plan accordingly by extending your travel by a few hours or even an extra day to accommodate.
- Maintain communication with people from your departing location and your arriving location. If plans change, keep them informed.
- Keep your vehicle in the best possible driving condition. This includes good winter weather tires that are properly inflated.
- Check the condition and fit of your chains. If you have never put chains on, practice once before the snow falls. Use your floor mat to stay dry while kneeling on the ground.
- Make sure your coolant and wiper fluid are rated for sub-freezing temperatures.
- Clean your headlights, brake lights, and turn indicators.
- Don't start driving until the windows are clear and you have good visibility.
- Do not use cruise control on wet, snow-covered, or icy roads.
- Maintain smooth and gentle input on the controls when braking, accelerating, and turning.
- Keep your vehicle fueled, and your phone charged.
- Buckle up! All occupants should be properly secured, including pets and children.
- After you arrive at your destination, call back to your departing location and let those who know you're traveling know that you have arrived safely.
It is a good idea to keep a winter emergency kit in the vehicle. This should include extra gloves, socks, a hat, flashlight and batteries, a blanket, bottled water, non-perishable food items, a pocketknife, first aid kit and a brightly colored scarf to attract attention in case of emergency. You might also keep jumper cables, emergency flares, a small shovel and a small sack of sand or kitty litter for traction if you get stuck.
If something happens and you are stranded or stuck, stay with your vehicle. If you run your car for heat, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow. Most deaths occur when people leave their vehicle, get lost and freeze.
Most important, check the road and weather reports before your trip. If conditions warrant, delay or cancel your trip until travel conditions improve. Current road conditions nationwide can be found at: fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/.
Campus Security Offers Free Safe Walk Services
University of Idaho Campus Security wants to remind the Vandal Community about a free, 24/7 service it offers year-round called Safe Walk. This service is available to all students, faculty, staff and U of I visitors.
A quick call to U of I Security is all that is needed to request the Safe Walk service — no questions asked. A security officer will meet a caller any place on the Moscow campus and walk that person(s) to their destination on campus. U of I Security encourages the campus community to use Safe Walk when needed.
Call 208-885-7054, or an alternative number is 208-874-7550. For more information or questions, go to Safe Walk or contact U of I Campus Security at 208-885-7054, or email at email@example.com.
Culture of Questioning
Questioning certain practices with safety in mind is an essential attitude to keep you and the rest of the Vandal family safe. Questioning challenges the complacency that grows in familiar situations and drives change. Questioning safety practices, or perhaps a lack thereof, is vital to developing a culture of safety at the University of Idaho. The goal is for everyone to return home at the end of every day just as healthy as when they arrived on campus.
Safety issues are often recognized but go unreported because a person doesn't know whom to contact or assumes that someone else is already taking care of it. At U of I, we want everyone to challenge these assumptions, question the situation and report the issues. The Report a Safety Concern form was created just for this purpose. It allows for anonymous reporting if you choose, as well as the option to upload an image of the safety problem when appropriate. It is available for anyone to use, and concerns will be directed to the proper campus unit to correct the problem.
Students and employees are the eyes and ears of the community, and your help is essential. Get involved in the safety training opportunities available to you, ask questions if you have a concern about a procedure, take part in safety inspections and report issues right away - issues cannot be corrected if no one knows about them. Timely questioning and reporting can prevent accidents and near misses. If an accident or near miss does occur, report this as well; investigating the reason will help avoid another injury.
As a supervisor, you have additional influence - lead by example and ensure safety is a core value in your team's activities. You are encouraged to do workplace inspections, ensure your employees are current on their safety training, talk regularly with your employees and discuss accident investigation reports with them and the U of I EHS staff. EHS has many resources available for you and the EHS staff can assist all supervisors in their safety efforts.
Our Vandal culture is how we think and act in all our activities. Avoiding complacency and continuously challenging existing conditions that might pose a safety risk allows us as a community to identify discrepancies and take appropriate actions before an accident or near miss occurs. Put safety first and we can achieve the safest possible working and learning environment for our Vandal family.