Why do you think a safe fleet culture is such an important practice?
Because it influences organization’s expense and reputation. Safe fleet culture results in efficient product deliveries and provides happy customers.
But when it comes to creating a safer fleet, we still have a long way to go. According to Bureau of Labour Statistics reports approx. 40% of motor vehicle accidents are work-related.
Do you know that truck drivers and sales workers/drivers have one of the largest numbers of fatal occupational injuries?
Motor vehicle crashed cost companies millions of dollars in direct medical expenses. Hence, by training the most valuable assets of the company, the drivers, most of the accidents can be prevented. If you are interested in creating safe driving strategies and improve fleet performance then this blog is for you.
1. Fleet Safety
Practicing Defensive Driving
According to OMES, Defensive driving is driving to save lives, time and money despite the conditions around you and the actions of others. Drivers must be told that defensive driving protects them from what is happening around them. It can be used to save time and reduce risky driving behaviour.
- Avoid distraction
The main job of a fleet driver is to drive the vehicle. Hence, encourage your drivers to avoid using phones or anything that can distract them from their main job.
- Watch out Blind spots
Although there are some things that no one can control, one can control the gap between two vehicles. This is particularly important for fleets due to their huge vehicle size. With a good brake, a heavy vehicle can take around 390 ft to stop. That’s a little more than two football fields!
- Don’t be aggressive
The fleet managers must be encouraged to maintain calm and avoid road rage. It’s a serious issue with dangerous outcomes. At times fleet drivers are honked at or harassed by others. It might provoke the fleet drivers to tailgate or weave between lanes but its better if the driver controls the anger and avoid putting themselves at risk.
Encourage Breaks and Rests
Drive only when you are emotionally and physically ready to do so. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving.
NTSB has also reported that drowsy driving results in more than half of crashes leading to fleet driver’s death. Hence, the fleet drivers must be well rested to prevent crashes and be ready for their next journey.
A short nap or taking two cups of coffee or other beverages containing equal amount of caffeine can also help rejuvenating the driver.
Although people who fall asleep for more than a few minutes can detect that they were asleep but the drivers who are having shorter lapses or microsleeps can take time to regain their consciousness and might not be awake when a quick reaction is needed.
That’s why driver monitoring is a necessary companion for fleet drivers.
Monitor Driver Behavior
Monitoring fleet driver behavior can help in saving lives and money. Using driver monitoring system driver’s drowsiness and distraction can be monitored and the driver can be alerted to be active or take a break.
PathPartner Driver Monitoring System helps in keeping the drowsy and distracted driver alert all the time and records such incident for further analysis. These recorded incidents are available real-time and on cloud that can be studied to improve driver behavior.
The first step toward towards a safer fleet is to analyze such unsafe practice and habits and create a driver safety program to minimize it. The program should involve training the drivers to avoid unsafe driving practices and an incentive can be implemented for those who show improvement during the program.
This will not only create a safer fleet culture but it will also help in saving those extra expenses such as insurance and vehicle repairs! The program will increase the efficiency and productivity of the drivers and hence will enhance business performance as a whole.
Including a new safety standard might result in some degree of employee resistance. That can be improved by including the employees during the planning and implementation process and allowing them to share their issues in advance.
Be Prepared for Unexpected Events
This is one of the most important lessons that the fleet drivers should know. They have to be prepared for anything!
That includes watching traffic, unexpected weather, a crossing pedestrian. The limit of safe speed changes with the weather. Driving at the posted speed limit might be fine during a normal day but if it’s raining or snowing heavily then that same speed might be dangerous.
Train your driver to slow down if there are any changes such as poor visibility. It gives the driver some time to evaluate the situation and act on it accordingly.
Drivers should also keep first aid kit, spare clothes, blanket, water and food item for unexpected scenarios or events wherein they have to wait for a long period for vehicle repairs.
Taking small measures to keep the fleet safe is not a herculean task. But by teaching the drivers to practice defensive driving, using a driver monitoring system to analyse their behaviour and by creating an effective program to improve it may lead to significant results!