17 October 2018

As the days get shorter and the night sets in, it’s important for employees to understand how their driving may change when the roads are dark.

A 2017 survey completed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) found that 40% of all collisions happen when it’s dark, so it’s important to read up on the risks.

That’s why this month we wanted to explore some of the techniques that fleet managers can share with their team to ensure they stay safe whilst driving at night.

Dim the interior lights and panels

Modern vehicles, especially those with larger screens and monitors are great for driving during the day, but when it comes to driving in the dark they can cause problems for drivers.

As soon as the nights start to get longer, fleet managers should advise drivers to dim their instrumental panels and dash lights. This helps to improve forward vision. Failing that, the driver will have less time to react if they have to perform an emergency stop or an evasive manoeuvre.

Consider advanced driver training

Not everyone is comfortable driving in the dark, but if a fleet manager wants to ensure their drivers are safe whilst on the road, then they could consider implementing advanced driver training for those that want to take part.

Not only do these courses help employees drive safely during their normal working hours and help adhere to your Duty of Care obligations, it also helps to improve their skills for when they’re driving on evenings and weekends.

Educate drivers on optimum stopping distances

It may be one of the first things drivers learn when they’re taking their theory test, but optimum stopping distances are forgotten by most as soon as they take to the road as a fully-licensed driver.

Drivers should remember that their stopping distances can vary greatly, especially in ice, snow or rain. In these conditions, the stopping distances are doubled for wet roads and ten times longer in snow or ice. For example:

  • The stopping distance for a car travelling at 50mph in normal conditions is approximately 53m (174 feet)
  • In wet driving conditions, this is doubled to 106m (348 feet)
  • In snowy or icy driving conditions, this increases to 530m (1,740 feet)

Plan longer journeys in advance

When taking business trips, especially during the winter months, it’s important that employees plan their journey before they leave. This means that they are aware of any delays that might occur during their travels, or know an alternative route if the first is blocked by an accident. 

Avoid touching or wiping windows or screens

One of the easiest ways to ensure that employees are safe whilst driving at night is to remind them to keep their windows and mirrors clear of dirt.

If the driver touches or smudges the surface of the windscreen, it can leave oil from their skin. When a light from an oncoming car hits this smudge, it can glare through any point that has been touched, leading to a lack of vision, as the driver is dazzled.

Further reading

For more information on how to ensure drivers are safe whilst they’re on the road, then take a look at the articles listed below.

 

In conclusion, employers have to ensure that their drivers are safe whilst they’re on the road, especially when they’re taking business trips.

Education and knowledge sharing is key, so make sure that regular communications are sent out, reminding and advising drivers on how to change their driving habits.

To find out more about our fleet management and leasing, employee benefits solutions and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.