Safety Tips from your Pizza Driver
Saturday night I had some guy tailgating my back bumper on a dark country road. When I turned onto the two-lane highway, he stayed on my back bumper and almost got himself T-boned by oncoming traffic that I was able to easily clear but he shouldn’t have even tried. This is just the latest example of how unsafe some people drive!
As a pizza delivery driver, I see all kinds of examples of unsafe driving and even some very nasty car wrecks. As a “public safety announcement” I thought I would list a few of them here (and to vent a bit).
Unsafe Driving Practices
- SPEEDING: along with killing your fuel efficiency and gas mileage (MPG), speeding is not a safe thing to do! It becomes especially unsafe on the curvy twisting country roads I often deliver on, and is a hazard in town where you might not have the time or distance to stop for a traffic light.
- RUNNING RED LIGHTS: I understand some yellow lights are very short (I don’t know why) and sometimes people can’t stop in time, but running a red light is dangerous because there are folks who feel a need to to do an extreme “quick start” or “jackrabbit start” off the line as soon as their side turns green, and some jump off that line so fast you have to wonder if they drag race in their spare time! I’ve seen T-bone wrecks that require the rescue squad, the “jaws of life” and at least two ambulances or even a life-flight helicopter, not to mention the fire trucks, police vehicles, and of course a flatbed wrecker or two to haul what’s left of the car off. Really, it ain’t worth it … especially if they have to call the coroner instead of an ambulance.
- TAILGATING: This one really chaps my (donkey) big time. I drive a stick shift, which means I will likely slow down without using my brakes! Also, that lighted sign on top of my car says I am WORKING, and if I am going slowly I may be hunting for an address or road … so driving three inches off my back bumper with your high-beams on will NOT make me go any faster. No, you are not “drafting” either, because before you get close enough to actually draft I will have slammed on my brakes to get you to back off. I am older than most tailgaters, and have much better insurance rates … and YOU will get the ticket for failing to maintain a proper following distance.
- FLASHING HIGH-BEAM HEADLIGHTS: I really don’t understand this one at all. Why do people feel a need to flash their high-beam lights at me when oncoming? Do they think they are being cute? Or are they just that much of a total jack(donkey)? People in tall trucks seem to do it much more than small car drivers, and it really does temporarily blind me. It’s even more annoying than those (donkeys) who tailgate with their high-beams on.
Now, for a non-driving but even more important safety tip: MAKE SURE YOUR HOUSE NUMBER IS EASILY VISIBLE FROM THE ROAD!!! As a pizza driver, this would help me immensely in my job. You may even think it’s amusing to see me go past your driveway three times hunting for your house with my lighted pizza sign showing how hard a time I am having … but will it be just as amusing when you have a life-threatening situation and it’s the ambulance, fire truck, or police car who can’t find your house?!? Use reflective house numbers that are two inches tall or larger, and make sure they can be seen from the road even during the late summer when bushes and trees have all of their leaves. Folks, if the pizza driver who is up and down your road regularly can’t find your house at night, the ambulance driver won’t be able to find it easily either.
Now, for a few tips to make your pizza driver feel safe:
- Turn on your porch light! It helps us find your house a little easier, and there are some neighborhoods I’ve delivered into that were not safe in the dark. I carry a large 3 D-cell Mag-Lite flashlight for occasions like that … not just for the light either. I often tell customers that “porch lights attract pizza drivers.”
- Don’t leave things laying across your sidewalk at night, especially if you don’t bother to turn on that porch light. I’ve tripped over all manner of things just trying to get to a house’s porch. If you think I am just whining, pretend I am a paramedic and your child is choking and blue … then maybe it won’t sound as trivial.
- If your dog may be aggressive, put it up. I have nothing against dogs, or even big dogs (I own a 130 pound Rottweiler). But I get a little nervous when a customer is at the door yelling at me to stay in my car while they catch and contain their dog. If you have someone coming to your house, get Cujo in his pen or on a leash … before my tires hit your driveway.
These are just a few safety pointers from my experience as a pizza driver. I am sure other drivers can chime in with more.