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Driver Safety at UC San Diego

Learn how to stay safe when driving university vehicles.

With close to 900 vehicles in our fleet, UC San Diego has many drivers on the road. Driving safely should always be your #1 priority when behind the wheel. Here are some tips to keep you safe on the road.

Focus your attention

  • Make sure 100% of your attention is on driving. Taking your eyes off the road or trying to multitask when driving can lead to a disastrous situation.
  • Drive slowly and keep space between your vehicle and other vehicles on the road. The 3 key elements needed to avoid accidents are space, visibility and time. You will have time to react and change your driving pattern if you need to when you have space for your vehicle and visibility as the driver.
  • Refrain from any activity (talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, etc.) that could take your focus off of the road.

Drive defensively 

  • Anticipating the actions of others will help keep you safe on the road. Pay attention to other drivers on the road who are not paying attention and steer clear of those vehicles that pose a danger to you.
  • Make sure you keep a proper follow distance. A 4-second following distance is considered safe in ideal driving conditions. If it is raining outside, depending on your speed, you will need a minimum of at least a 6-second following distance to keep you safe.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way on campus as well as off-campus, so make sure you are driving defensively in an electric cart as well as in a passenger vehicle or truck.

Plan it out

  • Make sure you give yourself ample time to arrive. Often times our driving patterns change when we are in a time crunch, leading to more dangerous decisions. Please plan accordingly when considering distance to travel, traffic and weather conditions.

Follow the law

  • It is important to note that all electric carts have a maximum load capacity, which includes the weight of the driver and passengers. Overloading an electric cart can compromise the safety and maneuverability of the cart. When loading your cart with materials, make sure the load is balanced on both sides.
  • If you are not familiar with your department’s vehicle, make sure you take the time to get used to the vehicle before driving. Adjust your seats, mirrors and climate controls prior to driving. Make sure you know the placement of the turn indicators, lights, hazard lights, and horn. 
  • Wear a seatbelt in all vehicles, including electric carts at all times.
  • Drive sober and drug-free to keep you and other drivers on the road safe.
  • Report emergencies and non-emergencies to the police.

Maintain your vehicle

Regular maintenance and repair of your department vehicle can help prevent the possibility of you or someone in your department from being stuck in a sticky situation. Without proper maintenance, your department vehicle will experience more serious problems in the future that could lead to expensive repairs, or even compromise some safety features or driving quality of the vehicle. Recommended routine services:

  • Changing the oil and the oil filter
  • Lubricating the chassis
  • Rotating tires
  • Checking all fluids
  • Pressure testing the cooling system
  • Inspecting the suspension, brakes, lights, battery, exhaust system, belts, and hoses

Part of the responsibility of driving a University vehicle is completing a 360° inspection around the vehicle prior to driving it. Please look for bald tires and anything that could compromise the integrity of the vehicle. Also, check to make sure the brakes are in good working order, as well as the vehicle's lights, turn indicators, instrument panel, windshield wipers and parking brake. Our goal is to make sure your vehicle is safe and in good working order. Learn more by visiting Fleet Services or contact them at (858) 534-2551 to schedule the regular maintenance for your department vehicle.

Get and provide training

Risk management is proud to offer the Smith System Driver’s Training, which includes behind the wheel training. The Smith System is a comprehensive driver’s safety course aimed at protecting experienced drivers from other drivers on the road. If you or anyone in your department is interested please contact Risk Management at (858) 534-2454 to schedule training. Learn more about the other driver safety trainings available to you and your department. 

If you are interested in presenting the topic of driver safety at your next staff meeting, please feel free to use the UCOP Be Smart about Driving PowerPoint.