As every fleet driver knows, it takes just a split-second for something to go wrong on the road. Concentration behind the wheel is key. But keeping concentration levels up when you drive hundreds (or even thousands) of miles on a weekly basis can be difficult.
With up to 72% of drivers having multitasked behind the wheel when they really shouldn’t, we’re looking at the most common driving distractions, and ways to minimise your fleet drivers being distracted.
Here are some of the leading causes of accidents leading from distractions behind the wheel.
According to Exchange & Mart, as many as 35% of drivers admit to eating or drinking behind the wheel. When you consider that sometimes droppages and spillages occur, it’s no wonder that this ranks highly in the list of driving distractions.
63% of drivers admit to changing the radio station or moving their hand from the wheel to choose a different song – and we suspect that the actual number who do it is even higher.
Many fleet delivery drivers may drive alone, but in some cases may take on a buddy for long journeys, or have someone in the cab with them for training purposes. Some fleets meanwhile might be dedicated to ferrying people around. Either way, paying too much attention to what others are doing in the vehicle, and not enough to what’s happening on the road, can be perilous for fleet drivers.
An alarming 5% of drivers admit to applying some kind of cosmetics in the rear-view mirror while driving. That could include lipstick, or even hair gel. Either way, simple vanity is something we’re all guilty of sometimes, but it can cause havoc when someone is behind the wheel.
These are our fleet management tips to keep your drivers safe from distractions during their journeys.
A traffic-facing dashboard-mounted camera can capture footage of your fleet’s driving habits and show you how they react to road hazards. That’s certainly handy when it comes to training drivers to handle themselves in traffic. However, installing an in-ward-facing dash cam is one of our best fleet driver safety tips for fleet managers. Putting one in every vehicle means drivers will be more conscious of their behaviour in the cabin at all times. Should they end up involved in an accident, it lets you see if distraction played a part, and how your drivers might best avoid becoming distracted in future.
Want to know how to reduce distracted driving for your fleet drivers? Set some basic rules to remove the majority of distractions!
For starters, make sure your drivers eat a decent breakfast before setting off – even if that means delaying their journey. Secondly, have drivers set up their playlists, sat-nav system and hand-free Bluetooth connections in advance and test them thoroughly before their wheels start to move. Additionally, set the expectation that any text messaging should happen when the vehicle is parked with the engine off. All of these combined should set your drivers up to avoid some of the basic pitfalls of distracted driving.
The chances of your fleet drivers getting distracted and crashing go up considerably when they get tired, with between 10-20% of all UK road crashes being due to driver fatigue. One of the best fleet driver safety tips for fleet managers is therefore to plan in time for drivers to take a break. If you use a journey planning tool like our Fleetintelligence system, you can even suggest specific service stations or laybys to help key your drivers’ journeys on track.
This article from I Am Roadsmart explores the importance of creating a safety culture in a fleet-based organisation – and we agree with everything it says.
Incepting practices to reduce driver stress, sharing safety tips that really resonate with the challenges your drivers encounter, and running a driver accreditation scheme, are just three of its best fleet management tips to keep your drivers safe.
The more of these you take on board, the lower the chances your drivers will get seriously distracted behind the wheel.
At SG Fleet we’re no strangers to helping fleet businesses defeat distraction and improve safety in every area of their operation.
Whether through cutting-edge journey planning tools; top tier telematics systems; or sharing knowledge and know-how from our decades of experience in the fleet field – we’re confident we can help your fleet get from A to B safer and more efficiently.
To find out how, call us on 0344 854 5100 or email Chris Salmon at CSalmon@sgfleet.com.