11.15
2019

Tips for Driving Safer This Winter

As the year moves forward and winter approaches and the mercury continues to drop, driving conditions can start to become more precarious than usual, particularly when snow falls or when freezing temperatures create icy conditions after even the lightest of rainfalls. Last year, we shared some great tips that you and your drivers should keep top of mind when getting behind the wheel in these frigid months. But, as with anything, there is always more that you can do to improve, so we want to share some additional tips to help keep everyone safer while on the road this winter.

Drive slower.
This may seem obvious, but anyone that has experience driving knows that not everyone drives cautiously during inclement weather or road conditions. So it’s important to be extra careful while they’re driving, both to keep your own vehicle in control and to be better positioned to react to other reckless drivers.

Be mindful of tire spray.
When driving on a particularly precipitous day, take a look at the amount of water spraying off the tires of other vehicles’ on the road. When there’s a lot of water coming off, you know you’re dealing with a wet road, obviously. But, if the spray begins to lessen — and it’s clear the road hasn’t dried completely — you’re facing freezing conditions, so be extra cautious.

Turn into a skid.
If your vehicle starts to skid, your initial reaction may be to turn the wheel in the opposite direction in order to compensate. But in reality, you’re better off turning into the skid, as it lets you maintain more control of your vehicle.

Prepare a winter driving kit.
What exactly is a winter driving kit? In the event of a breakdown that leaves you stranded, you want to make sure to have the proper tools that can either facilitate a fix on your own, or that can keep you safe while waiting for help to arrive. Your kit should include items such as extra clothing (gloves, rain gear, additional layers), a blanket, a flashlight with batteries, non-perishable food, water bottles, a bag of sand and/or salt, a shovel, an ice scraper, tire chains, and a cell phone charger. Basically, anything that you might need to weather a storm in a broken-down vehicle, or to help get you out of a sticky situation.

Don’t be afraid to pull over.
Yes, you might be on a tight schedule, but under no circumstances should you risk your safety, or the safety of those around you, by continuing to drive in treacherous conditions. If you find yourself caught in the onslaught of a storm, pull over until driving conditions improve. You’re better off arriving late than not arriving at all.

In the event of an emergency …
If you find yourself broken down on the side of the road, particularly during a storm, try your best to remain calm. Minimize the amount of time you spend outside of the vehicle, particularly if rectifying the situation is beyond your control. It’s safer for you to stay inside your vehicle, with the hazard lights turned on, until help arrives.

Some of these tips may seem obvious to more experienced drivers, but no matter how long you’ve been behind the wheel, they merit repeating at the approach of every winter season. When it comes to driver safety, you can never be too careful.

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11.06
2019

Truck Safety: Tips and Tools to Promote Good Driving Habits

As the amount of freight transportation activity increases, so do the chances of traffic accidents. Today, trucks carry the majority of freight, about 65 percent, from the United States into Canada and Mexico. With all this movement, there are bound to be accidents. But how many are preventable? What, if anything, can companies do to curb bad driving habits? Experts agree that implementing a proactive program in the workplace is a crucial factor in mitigating traffic incidents. Before we explore possible incentives employers can provide to promote safe driving, let’s look at what commercial truck drivers can do when they get behind the wheel.

  • Get plenty of rest before driving.
    Eat well and stay fit. Driver fatigue and lack of attention can significantly increase your risk of a crash.
  • Slow down in work zones.
    Stay alert. Almost one-third of work zone fatal crashes involve large trucks. Most of these crashes occur during the day. Take your time going through work zones, give yourself plenty of room, and expect the unexpected.
  •  Be aware of your “No Zone.”
    Other drivers may not be aware of the size of your blind spots. One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the No-Zone areas around a truck. Adjust your mirrors and be vigilant in watching out for vehicles.
  • Always keep your distance.
    Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. In rear-end collisions, regardless of the situation, if you hit someone from behind, you are considered at fault. Large trucks, given their mass, have much greater stopping distances than 4-wheelers. Take advantage of your driving height and anticipate hard braking situations.
  • Always maintain your vehicle.
    It can save your life. Inspect your vehicle before each trip and check your brakes regularly. Brake defects are the most frequently cited out-of-service inspection violation. Learn how to inspect your brakes, identify safety defects, and get them repaired before risking your life and the lives of others.
  • Drive defensively.
    Avoid aggressive drivers and maintain a safe speed. Two-thirds of all traffic fatalities may be caused by aggressive driving behaviors. The only thing excessive speed increases is your chance for a crash.
  • Always fasten your seatbelt.
    Buckle up for safety and vehicle control. If you are in a crash, a seat belt will save your life. It will keep you in your seat and allow for you to maintain control of your truck. Increasing seat belt use is still the single most effective thing we can do to save lives and reduce injuries on our roadways.

Keeping Track of Your Drivers: How You Can Help?
Now that you know what your drivers should do, how do you know that they’re practicing good driver behavior throughout their shifts? From minor collisions to major accidents, your business depends on safe, conscientious drivers who will mitigate risk and represent your business with integrity. Actsoft offers incredible, affordable, and reliable software solutions for tracking and monitoring driver behavior. Through detailed reports (which you control the frequency of, from daily to monthly to ad hoc and more), you’ll get a full picture of your drivers. Some of the things you can monitor are:

  • Speed
  • Rapid acceleration and deceleration
  • Arrival and departure times

You may also receive vehicle maintenance reminders and alerts informing you when drivers are in restricted or unauthorized areas. This is especially useful when the law prohibits certain freight from entering certain areas, such as neighborhoods and school zones.

If you’re ready to take a step toward a safe, low-risk approach to vehicle management, then give us a call! We can help you choose solutions right for your needs and budget.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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07.23
2019

What Great Leaders Know: Understanding Weakness Leads to Success

From legendary coaches to the best teachers, the strategy is always the same: Understand the team’s weaknesses. It’s easy to identify star players and focus on the moments of glory, but without assessing the big picture, your team will only perform at a fraction of its potential. This is especially true for companies who are dealing with many moving parts, including fleet-based operations who have dozens of drivers spread out across the city, state, or country.

Understanding what seems like minutiae — such as driver behavior, gas usage, and time management — may seem like an impossible undertaking; how can you possibly track all of these activities every day? And the more important question: Is it worth it? The answers are surprisingly simple. With hardware and software solutions from Actsoft, your tracking is automated and reports are automatically compiled and sent to you as often as you need them. And the value is in the numbers. Most companies save thousands each month by monitoring fuel usage and route efficiency.

Actsoft, the maker of a suite of tools for remote management, puts all of the fleet information together on one platform to give our customers the power and knowledge to be able to make key strategic decisions.

With high-performance GPS-tracking devices and software like Encore, you can find the strengths and weaknesses of your entire driving team. Now you can accurately fine-tune performance, cut down on waste, and reduce liability.

Some of the key features include understanding driver behavior. By monitoring various aspects of driving habits — everything from speeding to fast braking — you can get a clear picture of your company’s health in that area. If you have several drivers who are in the habit of speeding and braking late, not only does your accident risk spike but so does your fuel costs and vehicle maintenance.

Likewise, if you have drivers who stay within the pre-set perimeters, stay within speed limits, and don’t idle, you can count that aspect of your business as healthy and a model for other areas. This allows you to re-focus your energy on departments that aren’t functioning as well.

Moreover, a workplace that rewards great performance is one that usually has less turnover and overall better ratings in employee satisfaction.

By using a mobile solution like Encore, which can be accessed on any smart device, you’re taking charge of what happens outside of your office walls. With a wide variety of additional features, you can choose from allowing mobile timekeeping and dispatching, giving you an upper hand on the competition. All this amounts to a healthy fleet that is driving responsibly, generating more revenue, and saving the company big bucks every year.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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04.09
2019

The Importance of Driver Safety

The weather is warmer, school is coming to a close for the kids, and vacation season is nearly upon us. It’s a happy time of year with the snow just about all melted away. It only means one thing: more activity on the roadways.

Anyone who drives on a regular basis, whether it’s to and from work, or someone who drives a vehicle for a living, knows it’s imperative to be safe on the roadways. Make sure the tires are at a good grade, make sure the oil is fresh, and everything else with your vehicle is completely safe.

Still, the biggest component of driving safely is, well, driver safety. Things become tougher on the roadways with more and more vehicles clogging up lanes. This is especially true in areas that have high volumes of traffic and less than three lanes on each side for traffic.

Driving in an area with smalltown design, but big city aspirations can be a nightmare. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, as many as 100,000 people will clog the roadways during the day in certain spots of the highway. Despite the large volume of drivers, there are only two lanes in each direction for traffic. Add onto that about 100 yards for entry ramps, which is not a ton of room to merge, it’s not a great situation for hundreds of vehicles to go from two and one-half lanes to two.

The four-lane highway that may be better served as a six-lane roadway is not unique to Allentown. It may seem silly for experienced drivers, but it never hurts to have a reminder of safe driving habits for roadways that are difficult to maneuver. Anyone from an urban area is used to crowded roadways, but with plenty of lanes to get around. Anyone from a rural area is used to dealing with tight roads. Combining the two may not be a daily occurrence for every driver out there. Make sure you’re taking every precaution necessary to make it home at the end of the day.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.22
2018

5 Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

In our über-connected world, distractions abound. Our senses are constantly inundated with a steady influx of visuals and sounds. Each competes for our immediate attention if even for just a moment, to deliver a message that hopefully sticks with us amid the sea of noise. These missives come at us in so many forms: commercials, billboards, phone calls, text messages, emails, music, traffic signs, pop-up advertisements, and more.

To say this saturation of data is overwhelming is putting it mildly at best. But throw in a focus-driven activity into the mix — like driving a car, for example —and it can be downright dangerous.

When you’re behind the wheel, there’s a lot at stake that goes well beyond successfully making the trek between points A and B. Driving safely not only requires that you remain cognizant of the important things — signs, traffic lights, emergency signals, etc. — but that you also keep the needless distractions — conversations, music, scenery, etc. — at bay.

With your life (and the lives of those in and around your vehicle) at stake, staying as safe as possible is key. Here, our tips for avoiding distracted driving.

Hands off your phone.
We get it. You see a text notification and you feel the need to read and reply. Or suddenly an idea pops into your head and you just have to share it with the world. Whatever it is, it’s probably not that important. Save the cellphone use for later. Have some trouble controlling that impulse? Try installing one of these free apps to limit your device’s functionality while on the go.

Keep passengers under control.
Road trips are fun. Cruising around with friends is fun. But save the super-animated conversations for when you reach your destination. We’re not saying that you should be riding in silence; just keep the volume in check and consider changing subjects if the topic causes you to veer too deep into debate mode, which can become distracting.

Put down the …
Sandwich. Makeup. Newspaper. (Yes, we’ve actually witnessed the latter before. More than once.) Multitasking may be a great trait to slap on your resume, but when it comes to driving a car, it’s better for all parties involved if you remain focused on the one task at hand and save the rest for later.

Don’t drive if you’re tired. 
Fatigue may not seem like a distraction, per se, but if the bulk of your energy is being used trying to remain awake, then you’re far from focused. In fact, studies have shown that sleep-deprived drivers can experience impairment equal to that of intoxicated drivers, or even worse. So if your eyelids are heavy, take a nap, ask for a ride, or call a cab.

Secure your belongings. 
The last thing you need is your coffee-cup tray spilling everywhere, or shopping bags crashing to the floor, or any number of unexpected — but preventable — distractions. If you’re loading up the car before you head out, make sure everything is best situated so it all stays put.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.12
2018

The Best Apps for Preventing Distracted Driving

Distracted driving — and the wave of devastation that comes with it — is a major issue today. In 2015, it was the cause of nearly 10 percent of all U.S. motor vehicle fatalities and around 16 percent of overall automobile injuries.

Cellphone use has taken the forefront as the target goal for distracted driving prevention, though it’s not the only form. (Other examples include lack of focus due to preoccupation with something else, fatigue, conversations, and eating.) But it’s for a good reason. On average, reading or sending a text takes around five seconds; at a speed of 55 mph, that’s enough time for a person to traverse the length of an entire football field.

It should come as no surprise that younger drivers (20 and under) are among the most impacted by distracted driving. Not only is this segment lacking in experience on the road, but they’re arguably the most connected, digitally, so the propensity for distraction is greater. (Not to mention, the invincibility/“not me” complex tends to reign truest in this demographic.) That always-by-their-side cellphone can be a recipe for disaster. In fact, 42 percent of high school drivers fessed up, admitting to having texted while driving.

But it’s not just kids that are practicing this type of behavior. It’s adults, too.

Here at Actsoft, we help businesses monitor employees for a number of work-related habits, including certain safe driving habits such as speed, length of time legally allowed to be spent behind the wheel in a day, and rapid acceleration and deceleration. Keeping drivers safe is extremely important to us. As a nod to our commitment to driver safety, we wanted to share a couple of apps you can use to help combat that urge to pick up the phone while you’re on the road. Not only can they help keep you and your loved ones safe, but they’re both absolutely free!

AT&T DriveMode
Once you reach a speed of 15 mph, the app is triggered, silencing incoming alerts and phone calls. Music and navigation are still accessible, but from a consolidated one-touch menu, along with select speed-dial contacts. Although it’s available to anyone, AT&T customers have the added bonus of being able to send automatic replies when text messages are received. And, with special controls built in for younger drivers, parents can rest a little easier, since they’ll be alerted if their kids switch the functionality off or add a new speed-dial number. AndroidiOS; free; att.com/drivemode

TrueMotion Family Safe Driving
Sometimes a little incentive helps to curb a bad habit. TrueMotion Family Safe Driving adds some friendly competition between family members to encourage driving safer. Tapping into your smartphone’s native capabilities, the app monitors your driving habits, including phone use while in motion. At the end of each trip, you’re given a score. Keep up with your family’s scores and see who comes out on top as the most-focused driver. Members can even opt to share their locations and trip data so others can see how they got to their destinations. AndroidiOS; free; gotrumotion.com/app

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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