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5 Essential Fleet Driving Tips for Improved Safety and Performance

Managing a fleet involves juggling multiple responsibilities and demands, from maintaining vehicles to ensuring driver safety. For a fleet director to be successful, it is critical to stay up-to-date with the latest best practices. In this article, we will explore the four most common risky driver behaviors every fleet director should be on the lookout for, and then we will cover five essential tips that can help enhance both safety and performance in your fleet.

Risky Driver Behaviors

Recent research paints a concerning picture of the prevalence of risky driver behaviors. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 87% of drivers have engaged in at least one risky behavior within the period of a month, signifying a pervasive culture of indifference towards road safety. Here are four of the most risky driving behaviors the AAA Foundation study discovered:

 

  • Distracted Driving: This one stands out as a major culprit, especially now that mobile phones are ubiquitous. More and more drivers are looking down at their phones while driving instead of keeping their eyes on the road. The odds of an accident increase eightfold when a driver is texting, leading to 24,000 injuries and 995 deaths annually.
  • Speeding: Almost half of the drivers in the AA Foundation study (48%) admitted to exceeding the speed limit on freeways by 15 mph. Among them, 15% confessed to doing so regularly, a behavior that may be more prevalent in fleet drivers under pressure from tight schedules.
  • Aggressive Driving: In the past year, 78% of drivers reported exhibiting at least one aggressive behavior, such as tailgating, speeding in congested traffic, abruptly cutting off another driver, switching lanes erratically, or running red lights.
  • Fatigued Driving: rounds off this list of dangerous behaviors. An alarming 32% of drivers admitted to struggling to keep their eyes open due to exhaustion in the past month, leading to an estimated 328,000 annual accidents, including 6,400 fatal ones.

 

The first step towards improved fleet safety is responding to and correcting risky driver behavior. It’s important to take action to educate your drivers about these risks and establish clear company policies to discourage these behaviors.

5 Tips For Better Safety And Performance

One of the most important things a fleet director can have is a fleet safety program to prevent catastrophe. It’s an even bigger benefit if the elements of that fleet safety program also help boost fleet performance. Here are five things fleet directors should do to improve fleet safety and fleet performance:

 

  1. Promote Defensive Driving Techniques
  2. Perform Regular Vehicle Inspections
  3. Invest in Driver Training and Education
  4. Foster Effective Communication and Planning
  5. Prioritize Rest for Drivers

1. Promote Defensive Driving Techniques

Promoting defensive driving techniques among your drivers is crucial. This approach includes being vigilant of possible road hazards, keeping a safe gap from other vehicles, adapting to varying weather and road conditions, and using turn signals correctly. It's a comprehensive strategy that significantly reduces accidents and minimizes fleet risks by fostering anticipation, adaptability, and clear communication on the road.

 

2. Perform Regular Vehicle Inspections

Fleet Vehicle Maintenance goes beyond just repairing problems—it's about preventing them. Regular inspections are crucial for spotting potential issues early before they cause breakdowns or safety incidents. It's important to maintain a regular vehicle check-up schedule, examining everything from brakes and tires to lights and mirrors. This proactive approach enhances the safety, reliability, and lifespan of your fleet vehicles, improving operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

 

3. Invest in Driver Training and Education

Training is a key tool for enhancing fleet safety and performance. It should cover safe driving practices, proper vehicle operation, emergency procedures, and adherence to your organization's specific policies. Understanding these aspects helps drivers handle their vehicles more effectively, react confidently in varying situations, and represent your organization professionally. However, training shouldn't be a one-time event; regular refresher courses are essential to keep these important practices and principles in the forefront of your drivers' minds, ultimately leading to a safer and more efficient fleet.

 

4. Foster Effective Communication and Planning

Establishing open and transparent lines of communication between fleet drivers and management is pivotal in improving overall safety and operational efficiency. This involves regularly exchanging vital information, such as route details, which can help drivers plan their journey more effectively and avoid potential road hazards. It also includes having an open dialogue about any existing or potential safety concerns. Encouraging drivers to voice their issues and insights not only empowers them but also enables management to take timely corrective action. This collaborative approach significantly contributes to a safer and more productive fleet operation.

 

5. Prioritize Rest for Drivers

The importance of rest in fleet safety cannot be overstated. Fatigued driving significantly increases accident risks, making rest periods a critical part of driver scheduling. Fatigue can slow reaction times and impair decision-making, even leading to drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Therefore, ample time for sleep between shifts and planned breaks during long trips are crucial. Additionally, fostering a culture that prioritizes rest and discourages skipping rest to meet deadlines is essential. Well-rested drivers are not only safer but also more alert and efficient, leading to improved performance, less vehicle wear, and more cost-effective operations. Managing driver fatigue is, therefore, key to fleet safety and success.

 

Driving a fleet vehicle safely and efficiently requires skill, knowledge, and a proactive approach. By following these five essential tips and other actionable steps to keep fleet drivers safe, you can improve your fleet's overall safety and performance.


Ready to take the next step towards a safer and more efficient fleet? Chat with an expert about VQ Safety today.