Know your vehicle

Do you know where your vehicle’s emergency brake is? How about its owner’s manual? Knowing your government vehicle and its controls will save lives, time and money.

Recently, two DOE contractors at outside DOE facilities failed to disengage the transmissions of the government vehicles they were operating prior to exiting their vehicles. In a third incident, a DOE contract employee, with his car’s transmission engaged, fell out and was subsequently run over by the vehicle he was operating. Investigations revealed that in all three cases, lack of familiarity with the vehicle contributed to the cause of these incidents.

ESH&Q recommends that prior to operating any vehicle you are unfamiliar with, Take 5 to review the operator’s manual and to identify where operational controls such as the light switches, wipers, emergency brakes, emergency brake pedals or handles, and hazard lights are located. Be aware of the size of the vehicle, and take into account any mounted apparatuses such as ladder racks or lift gates. Vehicle custodians have a responsibility also to ensure that personnel who operate their vehicles are certified and have valid state-issued driver licenses.

Remember to practice safe backing habits. Check behind your vehicle prior to backing up, or park in a position that allows you to pull forward when you leave.

You can find additional vehicle information by visiting this driver education website.

Brian Niesman, chairperson, Traffic Safety Subcommittee