Alconbury Driving Centre Blog
In 2000/01 99 people were killed, 2490 were seriously injured and 5857 people sustained injuries which kept them off work for more than 3 days, all as a result of workplace transport accidents.
The vast majority of these accidents were preventable.
Extract from Health & Safety Executive
Work Related Road Safety – Employers Responsibilities
Some employers believe incorrectly that provided they comply with certain road traffic law requirements, such as ensuring that company vehicles have a valid MOT certificate, they are doing all that is necessary to ensure the safety of their employees when on the road.
Health and safety law requires employers, and the self-employed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practical, the health, safety and welfare of all employees, at all times. Employers also have a responsibility to ensure that others are not put at risk by the work activities of their employees.
Although the driver is ultimately responsible for how a vehicle is driven on the road the employer can have a significant influence on what the driver does. For example, the imposition of unrealistic delivery schedules, inadequate training and failure to properly maintain vehicles all increase the risk of road accidents.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require every employer to carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, or themselves, whilst they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by their work activities. This includes any driving activity on the road. The regulations require the risk assessment to be reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains valid. Employers should consider the risks to employees on the road in the same way as for those in a workplace.
Driver Training is offered by the Alconbury Driving Centre as part of an employers duty of care responsibilities. For more information see our corporate driver training page
Health & Safety Executive
Reducing Risks Protecting People
A vehicle tyre loses grip when forces acting on the vehicle exceed the coefficient of friction between the tyre and the road surface. Many things can cause this, such as excessive speed for the road conditions, sudden braking, fierce acceleration and harsh or excessive steering. A car’s condition can also play a major role, particularly if the tyres or brakes are worn.
Skids don’t just happen. They are human error. Usually as result of poor concentration and failure to take road conditions into account. If you tackle a corner too fast, for example, the front tyres might not have enough grip to cope with what you are asking them to do, and the car will tend to plough straight on (a car without anti-lock brakes will also slide straight on, irrespective of any steering adjustments, if you lock up the wheels under emergency braking).
This is under steer, so called because the car is literally turning less than you want it to.
Likewise with the back end, this will slide wide and the car might start to spin. This is known as over steer because the car is turning more than you want it to.
It is harder to contain an over steering car, particularly if you are inexperienced. You can apply “opposite lock” by turning “into” the skid (in the same direction the tail is moving). Because you are pointing the front wheels in the direction you want to go, this is a more natural reaction than it sounds, but many drivers do it too aggressively. If that happens, the car might start to over steer in the opposite direction when the tyres bite, and you are likely to find yourself “fishtailing” down the road.
If the worst happens and you should start to over steer or under steer for whatever reason, the quickest way to regain control is to take the correct very prompt action. Remember that a car is much more likely to spin out of control in damp, wet or icy conditions, but never forget that you could encounter an unexpected hazard – such a slippery diesel spillage, mud, sand, loose gravel or fallen leaves – on an apparently dry surface.
More than 90 per cent of all accidents involve some sort of skid.
Stay alert and observant and you might have no need to worry about such things, if you’re lucky, but it brings a huge safety benefit for all drivers to invest a few hours in some form of skid control, skid prevention training, just in case. No amount of theory will help you in a sudden emergency, when the natural human reaction is to panic and freeze. But with a skid control, skid prevention training course and practice in a safe environment, you can gain an instinctive understanding of how to stay out of trouble and this course could save your life.
Here are ten top tips from the experts at the Alconbury Driving Centre for getting going again if you are stuck.
- Best way: If other cars/trucks are present, ask for help from them .They might tug your car out of the mud/sand/ice/snow.
- Put the transmission into four-wheel drive and active the differential locks (if equipped).
- Shift into the lowest gear available (if wheels spin try a higher gear ie 2nd gear).
- If the car won’t get out in one direction, drive back and forward alternately.
- Turn the steering wheel slightly and try driving in a different direction.
- Clear the soft silt or sand under the driving wheel to gain traction.
- Reduce the air pressure of the slipping wheel(s) & use less acceleration
- Place wood, pebbles or a piece of old carpet in front of the slipping wheel(s) (if driving forward) or behind the slipping wheel(s) (if driving reverse)
- Be prepared to steer and brake after you get your car out.
- Switch off momentarily the ESP/ESC system (Always consult your vehicle handbook)
Bosch call it the electronic guardian angel.
They describe critical manoeuvres with and without ESP.
Vehicle without ESP:
1. Vehicle approaches an obstacle.
2. Vehicle goes of course, enters oncoming traffic lane and driver loses control.
3. Counter steering causes the vehicle to go into a skid.
Vehicle with ESP:
1. Vehicle approaches an obstacle.
2. Vehicle threatens to break away. ESP intervenes and restores full steerability.
3. Counter steer results in threat of renewed breakaway. ESP intervenes again
4. Vehicle is stabilized.
Bosch says the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) supports the driver in nearly all critical driving situations. It detects skidding instantaneously and actively counteracts it. ESP goes beyond ABS and traction control systems (TCM). Sensors read desired steering direction, the vehicles rotary movement and lateral accelerations.
From this data the control unit calculates the actual movement of the vehicle, comparing it 25 times per second with the driver’s desired direction. If the values do not correspond, ESP reacts instantly without any action on the part of the driver. It reduces engine power and brakes individual wheels. Skidding is counteracted and the car remains safe on its desired course.
The system was developed in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz who was the first to launch it in 1995 in their S-class. Bosch has since refined the system.
Don’t be confused with manufacturers trying to differentiate themselves with different names for what is the same system. They may call it DSC, PSM, VSA or VSC but it’s ESP.
Components of ESP from Bosch are:
• ESP-Hydraulic unit with integrated ECU.
• Wheel speed sensor.
• Steering angle sensor.
• Yaw rate sensor with integrated acceleration sensor.
• Engine management ECU for communication.
Only 1% of those surveyed identified ESP and are aware of ESP as an active – corrective – safety system.
The life saving potential of ESP has been confirmed by several scientific studies:
• Toyota has concluded ESP could reduce driving accidents by 50%.
• Daimler-Chrysler reported a 42% reduction in accidents since introducing ESP as standard on Mercedes-Benz in 1999.
• VW think it could reduce fatal accidents by 35%.
• German studies show 25% of all injuries are due to skidding.
• 60% of fatal accidents are due to side impacts caused by skidding.
• American studies revealed a staggering 67% reduction in single SUV accidents when fitted with ESP.
With a skid control, skid prevention training course and practice in a safe environment, you can gain an instinctive understanding of how this technology works to keep you out of trouble, and this training and new knowledge could save your life.
Following this link to download the ESP guide document as a pdf.