Every fleet focuses on better risk management and ways to protect fleet drivers. With the number of crashes increasing across the country, it’s become a bigger priority than ever. Through driver training, fleet managers seek to lower the number of crashes and collisions within their fleet each year.
Fleet drivers can also improve their performance by always putting the best practices for driving into action every day on the job. They include developing smart behind-the-wheel habits as well as taking the right steps before even starting the engine.
Telematics solutions also help managers better protect fleet drivers. A collision avoidance system can significantly reduce the risk of crashes by giving drivers visual and audio alerts in real-time before an accident happens. Even as little as two seconds of warning can prevent the majority of crashes and collisions.
Commercial Vehicle Driver Tips
Some of the best practices for fleet drivers include tips that might seem simple commonsense. However, many drivers fail to follow them, increasing the chances they will end in a risky situation. Putting these ideas into action can prevent those situations, including for drivers of commercial trucks and other vehicles.
Make Safety Checks
Before starting the engine, drivers should perform safety checks. These can include checking that all the lights and turn signals function properly, looking under the hood for loose hoses or wires, testing tire pressure and making sure wiper blades function properly. These not only ensure that the vehicle operates properly, but also eliminate issues that can distract a driver while they get on the road.
Check Blind Spots
Drivers should use mirrors to check blind spots about every 10 second while driving, making themselves aware when a vehicle enters a blind spot. Drivers also should look down the road about a quarter mile on highways and interstates or two city blocks in urban areas, checking ahead for traffic congestion, work zones or other potential hazards.
Avoid Drowsy Driving
About 13 percent of commercial drivers who get into crashes report drowsiness before the collision occurred. Becoming drowsy behind the wheel slows reaction times and takes away precious seconds drivers can use to make decisions. It’s better for tired drivers to take a break and get rest rather than “pushing through.”
Maintain Good Following Distance
Getting too close to other vehicles also leads to many crashes, especially at higher rates of speed. Drivers should maintain the distance needed to make a stop, even on curves and ramps. Drivers also should consider the much longer stopping distances for large trucks (in some cases, as long as two football fields).
Drivers should always maintain a speed between the maximum and minimum speed limits. Driving too fast severely cuts into the time needed to react when drivers see something ahead that requires them to slow, stop or make an emergency maneuver.
Distracted driving causes thousands of accidents each year and leads to injuries, fatalities and huge liability costs for fleets. The No. 1 culprit is a smartphone, which tempts drivers to text, talk or access the internet. Other distractions include eating or drinking, taking hands off the wheel to search for something in the cabin, reading billboards or looking at something on the side of the road, and daydreaming.
These tips can help protect fleet drivers, especially when coupled with the advanced technology of collision avoidance systems. Together they help fleet drivers improve behind-the-wheel performance and make the roads safer for themselves and other drivers.