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VANPOOL VANTAGE NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE

Fall 2014



Driving Criteria
You already know that Pierce Transit’s criteria to drive a vanpool are pretty darn strict. We use requirements provided to us by our insurance administrator, Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP). And we have to say, our vanpools have a pretty excellent safety record, which we think is partly due to the fact that we are super-persnickety about who gets to drive our vanpool groups to work and back.

Did you know that in addition to citations for the obvious – open container, negligent driving, and DUI –these other common citations will immediately disqualify you as a vanpool driver:

  • Cell phone use or texting violation
  • Speeding in a school zone
  • Disobeying a road sign

So drivers beware! Be sure to always follow WA State laws, posted signage and other rules of the road.


Vanpool Driver Safety Incentive
Vanpool drivers, think quick:  What is your MOST IMPORTANT responsibility as a vanpool driver?

If you thought safety, you are correct!  Of your many important functions, getting your riders safely to and from work tops the list. 

Over the past 25-plus years, your safe driving (observing the speed limit, using adequate following distance, etc.) and other safety-focused habits (parking the van overnight only in approved locations) has helped Pierce Transit maintain an excellent safety record, with a very low incidence of accidents, vandalism and complaints.  We want to continue this trend and we need your help!

Approved Pierce Transit vanpool drivers who are complaint-, infraction- and accident-free from October 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015 will be entered into a drawing for one of 20 valuable gift cards. Names will be drawn and winners notified in April 2015.

Here are a few safe driving tips to keep in mind with Safety First as your goal:

  • Buckle up, and ensure your riders are buckled too
  • Drive only when you are well rested and able to give your full attention to driving
  • Minimize distractions, inside and outside the vehicle
  • Abide by posted speed limits, at all times 
  • Slow down in inclement weather and whenever visibility is limited
  • Maintain a four-second following distance, in ideal conditions
  • Increase following distance to greater than four seconds when you have a tailgater or during inclement weather
  • Check mirrors every three to five seconds; know what’s going on around you
  • Avoid traveling in other drivers’ blind spots
  • Reduce stopping distance by covering the brake when faced with a potentially hazardous situation
  • Merge safely and courteously; signal in advance, adjust speed as needed and yield the right-of-way

Thank you for making safety your #1 priority.  We hope you are on your way to earning a $50 gift card.  Good luck and safe travels!


Autumn Safe Driving Tips
Fall means wonderful things like warm, comfy sweaters, foliage, and baking pumpkin pies. For drivers, fall also brings unique dangers to the roads. It also means unpredictable weather conditions. A bright, beautiful afternoon can turn rainy and cold in minutes. And with days getting shorter, you could find yourself commuting to or from work in darkness. Watch out for:

School traffic.  Back to school means more cars and buses on the roads and increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.  Slow down and take extra care in school zones and near school buses.

Rain.  The first rain after a dry spell can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that haven't had a chance to wash away, making the pavement extremely slippery.  Slow down and increase your following distance.

Leaves.  Fall foliage is beautiful, but as leaves begin to fall, they litter the roads, making streets slick and obscuring pavement markings. They also hide potholes and other road hazards. When it rains, those wet leaves on the roadway can become as dangerous as ice.  Increase your following distance to give you more time to react.

Fog.  Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your visibility and perception of distance. Avoid using high beams, slow down and stay well behind the car in front of you so you'll have adequate time to stop if you need to.

Frost.  During the fall, temperatures can drop dramatically during the night, leading to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.

Glare.  Fall is also a bad time for glare – both from the sun and from headlights reflecting on wet pavement. Glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the car in front of you.  Sun glare can also make it harder to see traffic lights change, so approach them carefully, and keep your windshield clean and free of streaks and dust, which can worsen glare. 

Deer.  Finally, fall brings an increase in deer activity because it's their time for mating and migrating. Watch for darting deer, especially in the early morning and evening hours.

Knowing what to look for and using these tips can help you avoid weather-related car accidents this fall.  Thanks for ensuring you’re prepared for fall's inclement weather and hazardous driving challenges.


Welcome to our 225 NEW VantagePoint subscribers!
We recently asked vanpoolers to sign up for our online newsletter, VantagePoint, and offered all subscribers a chance to win a Starbucks gift card. Current and new subscribers were entered into the drawing. See the list of winners here.


Tell Your Vanpool Story Incentive Reminder
Wanna win a gift card?  You still have time!  Send us a 100+ word story about your vanpool experience and we’ll enter you in a drawing for one of 20 gift cards!  Talk about easy money! Send us a picture to go along with the story, and we’ll enter you twice.

Got writer’s block?  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Tell us about your craziest commute day ever.
  • Have you ever calculated how much you save by commuting on the vanpool?  What have you used the savings for?
  • Describe the relationships you have with your fellow vanpool riders.
  • Do you and the other members of your van get together for picnics or other outings? 

Email your vanpool stories to vanpool@piercetransit.org, lcunningham@piercetransit.org or bdavis@piercetransit.org.  Or send stories to Pierce Transit,  Attn: VantagePoint Newsletter-Vanpool, PO Box 99070, Lakewood, WA 98496-0070. 

Stories must be received by Friday, October 17 to be eligible for the drawing.

© 2016 Pierce Transit, All Rights Reserved. Site Design and Development by SiteCrafting.

Trip Planner Help

Trip Planner Tips - Entering Locations

To create a trip plan you need to enter both a starting location (origin) and an ending location (destination). For information about stops, schedules, or service at a specific location, you only need to enter one location.

The Trip Planner recognizes most street intersections and addresses as well as many landmarks in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. If what you entered is not immediately recognized, the Trip Planner will offer you a list of options. You can choose one of the options, but if your intended location is not there, select the "Revise Original Entries" link to return to the entry page and change the entries you have already made.

Addresses

  • You don't need to type in the city along with the address. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type 110 Jones instead of 110 Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 1000 Main instead of 1000 S Main. But type 1000 West Viewmont for 1000 West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets and addresses are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby location, such as an intersection or a landmark.
  • You should not enter the suite number or apartment number.  Just the house number and street name (Example: type in 401 Broadway instead of 401 Broadway Avenue Suite 800).

Intersections

  • The "&" symbol is the only character used between two street names to show an intersection. (Examples: 1st & B, James & Madison)
  • You don't need to type in the city. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type Conifer & Jones instead of Conifer Circle & Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 3rd & Main instead of 3rd S & S Main. But type 34th & West Viewmont for 34th W & West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby intersection or a landmark.

Landmarks

Government Sites: Pierce County Health Dept, Pierce Co Sheriffs Office, Tacoma City Hall

Major Commercial Sites: Tacoma Mall, Sheraton Hotel

Transportation Facilities: Sea-Tac Airport, Greyhound Bus Depot

Schools & Colleges: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College

Sports & Leisure: Cheney Stadium, Pt Defiance Zoo

Medical Facilities: Group Health, Tacoma General Hospital


 

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