Reducing injuries from vehicle crashes means properly restraining all occupants.
 - Screenshot via IIHS.

Reducing injuries from vehicle crashes means properly restraining all occupants.

Screenshot via IIHS.

More than 40,000 people lost their lives on U.S. roadways in 2016. By virtue of what they do for a living, commercial drivers are even more vulnerable to motor vehicle accidents than the general population.

While reducing collisions is priority number one, fleet drivers should know how to reduce their risks in the event of a crash.

Experts from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) say there are several important steps a driver should take in order to lower one's potential for serious injury should a crash occur. The IIHS offers the following advice to drivers:

Buckle Up Properly

It's not just what you do, it's how you do it. Drivers should make sure that their seatbelt is secured firmly over their hips — positioning is critically important. If the seatbelt rides up over your stomach it could actually injure you during a crash.

Position Your Seat Correctly

Drivers should position their seat as far away from the steering wheel as is comfortable for driving. The rationale is two-fold. First, the more distance, the less chance of your face hitting the wheel if a collision occurs. In addition, airbags are designed to inflate rapidly and with a good degree of force. If a driver's seat leaves ample space between his body and the wheel, he or she will avoid being in the forceful path of the airbag as it inflates.

Never Drive with Your Arm Across the Steering Wheel

A driver's hands should be in the nine o'clock and three o'clock positions. If you drive with your arm across the steering wheel and a crash happens, the initial force of the airbag is enough to break your arm.

Set Head Restraints Correctly

Head restraints should be positioned directly behind and as close as possible to the back of the driver's head. When positioned this way, head restraints can protect you during both front and rear impacts.

To learn more about reducing risks during a crash, watch the IIHS video here.

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