Staying safe on the road is a top priority for drivers and fleet managers alike. No matter the approach you take toward fleet management, minimizing accidents and increasing driver safety will always be important. Regardless of weather conditions, distances being driven, and vehicles being used, drivers should be operating their vehicles safely. Fleet managers have a certain level of responsibility over their drivers. Ideally, they should be overseeing their driving habits. Educating drivers, even in the form of a short meeting or a quick tip before a shift, can make a big difference. Let’s go over some driver safety tips that you can incorporate into your fleet.
5 Driver Safety Tips For Your Fleet
- Discourage Fatigued Driving
- Keep Your Vehicles Mechanically Sound
- Implement Protocol & Policies
- Remember A Vehicles Blind Spots
- Stay Alert & Evaluate Alternative Routes
Discourage Fatigued Driving
A large number of accidents happen due to fatigued drivers dozing off on the road. Especially common during long night and early morning shifts, driving while fatigued should be avoided at all costs.
As fleet managers, it’s important to make drivers aware of the signs of fatigue. This way, they’ll be able to pull over and freshen up when needed. If a driver is yawning, has heavy eyes that take work to keep open, or is drifting between lanes, it’s time for a break.
Leave it up to them to decide whether to take a nap or just drink a coffee. But pulling over and staying there until they feel fully awake is important.
Drivers working in pairs should have good communication and teamwork. If one gets tired, the other should be encouraged to take over, if they have the energy to do so. In most cases, drivers can negotiate these changes between themselves.
Keep Your Vehicles Mechanically Sound
No matter how great a driver is, if the truck being used is operationally unsound, their safety is still at risk. Investing in a preventative fleet maintenance program is one way to get ahead of this issue. By regularly getting vehicles checked over and serviced, you’ll significantly reduce the chances of a roadside breakdown.
Even if a preventative maintenance program is already in place, fleet managers should educate drivers on emergency protocol. If drivers notice a mechanical fault while driving, they should pull over immediately. Then, calling for a mobile technician is probably the safest option. An expert can check, and fix any issues right there, allowing the driver to get back behind the wheel with no significant delay.
Implement Protocol & Policies
As fleet managers, it’s important to communicate your thoughts with drivers clearly and efficiently. Otherwise, they may not know that they are allowed to pull over in extreme conditions, or what the protocol is during a roadside emergency. Communicating regulations and policies with them are essential.
Ideally, managers should put together a policy list that clearly outlines what safe driving means at the workplace. This should include the emergency protocol for various cases (breakdowns, extreme weather). Concrete measures of action should also be outlined for certain extreme events (fire outbreaks, accidents).
Once the document is finalized, its contents should be communicated to drivers. This can mean holding a meeting with staff members or sending out a longer email. Whatever you see fit for your employees and schedule. What’s important is that the message is made clear to drivers. Questions should be encouraged and answered in a way that reaches everyone.
After sharing the regulations list, its implementation must be followed through. Some managers may choose to ask drivers to sign the document. Others might set up a reward system for drivers that never fail to meet policy standards. What’s important is that consequences be drawn up and implemented for failure to keep these standards. This ensures the protection of your drivers, vehicles, and fleet.
Remember A Vehicles Blind Spots
Drivers should always be in a complete overview of their vehicle and its immediate surroundings. But there are some cases when this isn’t fully possible. Every vehicle has blind spots, but larger trucks have much more than regular passenger cars.
Encourage your drivers to take some time to identify their vehicle’s potential blind spots. It may also be valuable to know the blind spots of other vehicles. This way, they know to stay out of these zones, and prevent accidents caused by the unawareness of others.
Other tips for managing blind spots include minimizing lane changes. These greatly increase the chances of accidents caused by simply not seeing another car. It’s also important to check side mirrors regularly, meaning a minimum of once in a 10-second period.
Stay Alert & Evaluate Alternative Routes
Drivers should be focused on the road in all circumstances. But when driving conditions get poor, this becomes even more important. When driving in rain, snow, fog, heavy storms, or windy conditions, drivers must stay more focused than ever. In such cases, it’s advisable to drive below the speed limit and keep more distance than usual between vehicles. Headlights should be adjusted to provide enough visibility.
If conditions get too dangerous, drivers should be encouraged to pull over and wait for the weather to calm down. The slight delay in arrival simply cannot be a limiting factor when it comes to driver safety.
Fleet managers may also encourage drivers to adjust their planned route when they see fit. If a route is known to be particularly hazardous due to improper road conditions, drivers can evaluate alternatives. If a threatening storm can be avoided by taking a slight detour, that may also be a good decision.
Drivers should be allowed to make educated, but not unnecessary changes and delays to their routes if they see a valid reason for doing so. In such cases, managers might want to ask drivers to justify their decision.
We suggest that you implement these driver safety tips into your fleet management duties. Drawing up a policy list of your own based on ours may be a good idea. As fleet managers, ensuring that your drivers are doing their share of maintaining safety on the road is essential. Sometimes, it may happen that a driver is unaware of a particular rule, or practice. It’s always best to double down on education, rather than suffer the consequences of its negligence.