The U.S. to this day has one of the highest rates of traffic-related deaths per 1 million people. Just as concerning is the fact that there has been at least 1 traffic fatality per 100 million annual vehicle miles traveled (VMT) every year since 2015, including some 1.13 traffic casualties per 100 million VMT in 2018 (when approximately 12 million vehicles were involved in a crash). In light of these figures, it goes without saying that companies with a fleet of vehicles must put a premium on safety, especially with so many unknown variables and uncontrollable circumstances on the road. And the way to do that is by teaching drivers some essential safety measures when on the road. You can start with the following:
Steer Clear of Distractions
Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that distracted driving kills an estimated 3,000 people a year, and that’s to be expected because anything that takes a driver’s attention away from their driving increases the likelihood of getting in an accident. Needless to say, management of large vehicle fleets must emphasize the need to stay focused all throughout any trip.
Staying focused in this case means no multitasking while driving, which means tasks such as adjusting mirrors, checking emails, and even picking out music should be done either before turning the vehicle on or after turning the vehicle off. In case constant communication while in transit is absolutely necessary, make sure to teach drivers how to use apps that allow hands-free calling. In this way, the drivers can keep their focus on where it should be: on the road and on their driving. Today, there are technologies installed in the vehicle cab using Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can alert the driver if the technology senses the driver’s behavior is being diverted. For example, if the driver is using his mobile phone, lighting a cigarette or closing his or her eyes because of drowsiness, the software can alert you. The AI can also be deployed on the outside of the cab to detect behaviors that can increase accidents like speeding and driving too close to the vehicle in front.
Take Breaks Where Necessary
Another main cause of road accidents is fatigued driving. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes some 100,000 police-reported crashes yearly to driver fatigue, and these result in an estimated 1,550 deaths and 71,000 per year. That said, these fatigue-related accidents can be prevented by something as simple as taking a break.
As lifestyle writer James Gonzales notes in his productivity guide for professionals, it’s good to aim for max productivity; at the same time, workers need to understand their limits, as doing too much for too long can be counterintuitive — and in the case of drivers, potentially fatal. So, encourage your team of drivers to get some rest if they have to. Better yet, adjust your drivers’ schedules such that they can rest freely without worrying about getting left behind.
It’s every driver’s goal to reach their destination quickly and safely. Little can guarantee either on chaotic and unpredictable roads, but defensive driving can help keep your drivers and vehicles safe to the best of their ability. Defensive driving is defined by the Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.”
In short, it is a driving technique whose primordial goal is to reduce the risk of accidents by anticipating dangerous situations, adverse road conditions, and driving mistakes by others, and then reacting or proactively taking action accordingly. And among the principles to keep in mind are keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, driving as if everyone might make a mistake, avoiding over-speeding, and being alert at all times. Doing so will keep the drivers and everyone else on the road safe.
Nothing good ever comes from drivers losing their cool on the road. If anything, being a hothead can lead to accidents, or confrontations that can turn physical — if not fatal. So, it pays to teach drivers to stay cool, calm, and collected whatever happens on the road. Of course, keeping cool is easier said than done, but there are techniques that can help your drivers do just that.
Foremost is to be accepting of the fact that some drivers are downright annoying, and that some will make mistakes. Breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques will also be most useful in keeping your drivers even-keeled, even in the most stressful situations.
Do Preventive Maintenance Regularly
As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes in its motor safety guidelines, unexpected breakdowns can occur on the road, and they can result not only in delays, but also in accidents that can even be life-threatening. These breakdowns, though, are mostly preventable with periodic preventive maintenance, which is why drivers ought to be reminded of its importance. They’ll also need to be reoriented on what to watch out for when doing preventive maintenance, and these include checking the tires, engine lubricants, transmission, and brakes.
Now, as you prepare to teach your drivers the above safety measures, look to invest first in Skypatrol’s GPS solutions, as these systems can help you monitor driver behavior (thereby knowing what exactly needs to be addressed), encourage safety habits on the road, and optimize route planning to reduce overtime (and driver fatigue). Using Artificial Intelligence like Skypatrol’s is the future of reducing accidents and the future is here now.
Specially written for SkyPatrol.com
By: Zoe Sophie