Business driving remains one of the most dangerous activities an employer can ask someone to do, so ensuring drivers are up to speed in these key areas is vital to road safety.
In 2018 the Department for Transport reported that over 1,400 drivers and riders were killed or seriously injured when driving for work. Employers must acknowledge that, until this picture improves significantly, the roads are the most dangerous working environment for their employees.
Each of the four key areas below form one piece of the puzzle of improving that statistic, and employers need to ensure that their drivers have a solid foundation in each, to improve the safety and efficiency of their driving. What’s more, understanding a driver’s proficiency in each area can help to identify gaps in their knowledge, and to see how they might benefit from further development.
Attitude makes up a huge part of driving. Think about your own driving when you get behind the wheel in a good mood versus a bad mood: you may well find that when your approach to driving is calm and relaxed, certain situations don’t faze you as much as they would when you’re stressed or anxious. Now, think about business drivers who may face additional pressures such as tight deadlines or long journeys – their attitude could make the difference between completing their journey safely or being involved in an incident.
By testing their attitude towards different situations, you can help drivers to recognise the importance of having the correct attitude when driving. However, it’s not just about staying calm or avoiding road rage. For example, understanding how to deal with slower or nervous drivers, or someone who wants to drag race once the traffic light turns green, helps to build up a resilience to a range of challenging scenarios. This means that whatever they encounter, a business driver’s attitude will remain calm and suitable for the dangerous task of driving.
What’s the rule for entering a box junction? How should you prepare for driving on a sunny day? When it comes to everyday driving there’s so much to consider. Now factor in the additional information business drivers must retain to do their job safely, such as payload limits, stopping distances and speed limits for different vehicles types, and the amount of additional knowledge required for business driving becomes clear.
Even newly qualified drivers will find their knowledge slipping if it’s not topped up regularly, so it’s vital that all drivers keep their knowledge up to date. By assessing their drivers’ knowledge, employers can spot areas that could benefit from further training. For example, an employer that spots a gap in their driver’s motorway driving knowledge could then look to address this specific training need through a targeted module.
The ability to remain observant behind the wheel can help drivers to deal with hazards as they develop, and to spot the signs of potential hazards further up the road. This is especially true for business drivers, who may find themselves on long journeys or familiar routes where they may become complacent, believing that they know what lies ahead.
However, the roads are constantly changing and require our full concentration as hazardous situations can develop quickly and unpredictably, even on familiar roads.
Take a look at the image to the right and imagine you’re travelling down the road at 30mph. How much information do you think you could take in as you drive down this road? Would you spot the children in the road? How about the upcoming zebra crossing? These are the kinds of questions business drivers need to be asked in order to test their observation skills, helping to make absorbing on-road information second nature.
This is an important part of safe driving as it allows you to plan for upcoming hazards which could result in a collision. The best drivers are constantly scanning the roads for clues to these hazards which means they can adjust their speed and position to better prepare for them.
Think about every road sign or marking on the road you drive past on your way to work – do you always pay attention and act accordingly? If there’s a sign for farm traffic ahead do you see each entrance to a field as a potential hazard or drive the same regardless? These are the these kinds of considerations that business drivers need to make to remain safe when driving for work, especially when driving in unfamiliar areas. Being able to spot clues to hazards is just as important as being able to identify and deal with live hazards as it allows a driver to better anticipate future issues and adjust their driving accordingly.
“How can I see how my drivers perform in these four areas?”
Being able to test drivers on these four key elements is a vital part of mitigating the risks associated with business driving. E-learning solutions can offer a quick and cost-effective way to test drivers and subsequently roll out targeted training in areas where drivers may fall short of the mark.
Our fleet risk management and e-learning portal, CHOICES, enables fleet managers to onboard all of their company drivers including their grey fleet. Once onboarded drivers will be invited to complete their Driver Profile and will be assessed on these four key areas of business driving mentioned above. Watch the video to discover how CHOICES makes this easy…