Business drivers who spend most of their working day behind the wheel are likely to encounter a variety of drivers in terms of experience and confidence, but patience and anticipation could be the key to safer roads for all.
A new report from Co-op insurance, ‘Beyond the Box’, highlights some of the key issues young and newly-qualified drivers are facing in the UK. Some of the key issues raised by the 24,000 drivers were:
- 80% have experienced another vehicle driving too close to the rear of their car
- 72% have experienced another driver overtaking them when it wasn’t safe to do so
- 53% have felt under pressure to drive faster
- 43% have experienced aggressive hand gestures made by another driver
Many inexperienced drivers such as these face different pressures that are worth bearing in mind to help keep everyone safe on the roads, so we’ve compiled some of our top tips for sharing the roads with them:
- SPOT THE SIGNS
- While some of the signs of a newly qualified driver will be obvious such as P-plates, others such being more cautious at roundabouts and junctions will be harder to spot but should still be anticipated.
- BE PATIENT
- Once you’ve identified that you’re sharing the road with a newly qualified driver, it’s worth remembering to be patient and give them plenty of time and space to drive. There’s no point putting yourself or others in danger just for a few extra seconds off your journey time so hang back and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on them.
- KNOW THE INCIDENT HOTSPOTS
- The report by Co-op highlighted incident hotspots including when at a crossroads and when pulling out of a side road. While this doesn’t mean that this is true of all drivers, it’s worth being aware of these so that extra care can be taken when you encounter a newly qualified driver in one of these areas.
- STAYING CALM
- It can be easier for more experienced drivers to see things on the roads that may seem ‘obvious’, but while a newly-qualified driver is building up their confidence, it’s worth remembering that getting angry with them will only escalate a situation and make both yourself and them less likely to focus on the roads.
- NO TAILGATING
- “55% of drivers aged 26 and over admitted to driving too closely to vehicles in front”. This statistic from the Co-op report highlights an issue that many of us have been on the receiving end of before, so it’s worth remembering that tailgating any driver regardless of their perceived experience is dangerous and could result in a serious incident.
- FOLLOW O.A.P – Observation, Anticipation, Planning
- Many of our advanced drivers and riders will recognise O.A.P as one of the key principles of advanced motoring. Following these stages of making all-round observations, anticipating how what you see will affect you, and planning for a worst case scenario will help drivers to effectively deal with hazards, including sharing the road with a newly-qualified driver who may make the occasional mistake.
- SET AN EXAMPLE
- Remember that the way you drive can have a profound effect on the behaviour of other road users. By using observation skills, driving in a smooth manner and communicating courteously with other road users, you can help to make their journeys safer, as well as your own. You will also be using your experience to set a better example for those just getting to grips with driving.
While sharing the road with any vulnerable road user can be stressful for all parties, bearing these tips in mind can help to ensure that everyone gets where they need to be safely regardless of driving experience. As business drivers it’s important to uphold good driving standards and be mindful of these different types of drivers, which in turn will help to keep you and your vehicle safe.