There is a saying, use it or lose it and even the best vehicle drivers the world over will be rusty and out of practice when they’ve had a break from driving, especially on busy roads.
The pandemic has disrupted business travel, and with the lockdowns, many of us who drive for work may be a little anxious getting back behind the wheel. Not only do we need to get back up to speed with the vehicle, which may be a truck, lorry, van or car, we also have to navigate the roads fill with other drivers.
Since COVID-19, one statistic is positive – road deaths are down everywhere. Newstatesman reported in June 2020 that deaths and serious injuries in the UK were down a whopping 70%. Zero deaths and injuries would be ideal but unrealistic, so how do we work towards much lower statistics for fatalities on roads going forward?
Here are some basic reminders to business fleet management leaders and owner drivers to avoid accidents that could be deadly.
Do Conduct Frequent Servicing
If you rely on an annual MOT to ensure your business vehicle is roadworthy, then you are not necessarily driving safely at all times. At least one service per year ought to be carried out to ensure all the basic safety systems, such as seatbelts, hazard warning lights and airbags, are in good working order. You never know when you may rely on them, and they could end up saving your life or that of your colleague.
Don’t Drive On Old Tyres
Tyres get worn down over time, especially if you need to drive overexposed locations where there is more wear and tear from the road, such as the Yorkshire moors and dales, for instance. Ossett Tyre House says most local drivers experience some natural and unexpected hazards while driving, and avoiding an injury often comes back to the car and tyres’ condition.
Tyres that may still have enough tread to be street legal may not always stop you in time if you are confronted with a hazard in the road. This is especially so in wet conditions, of course. Many Tyre shops are working diligently in local areas.
Do Keep Screenwash Filled Up
Some delivery drivers, mobile service providers and sales reps will just hop into their company vehicle and get going without doing basic checks. One of the most important not to overlook when driving for work is the amount of screenwash you have. If you run into grimy roads, then your windscreen can soon get hard to see out of. This is unsafe unless you have a screenwash to clean it. Of course, dirty windscreens also look unprofessional as well as unsafe.
Don’t Drive When Tired
Pushing employees to keep going on the road and get from one location to another without proper rest is dangerous. If possible, business travellers should share the driving, especially when they are embarked on a longer than usual trip. If you are travelling alone, then make sure you pull over once every few hours to stretch your legs and refocus your mind before heading off once more.
Do Equip Fleets With Safety Equipment
Too few fleet managers pay enough attention to their drivers’ safety equipment. Any vehicle used for business – from company cars to delivery vans – should be equipped with a hazard warning triangle in case of a breakdown. Employees should also have access to a high-visibility vest or jacket for exactly the same reason. It is also a good idea to have a small fire extinguisher fitted to all company vehicles in a fleet in case of emergencies.
Don’t Ignore Dashboard Warning Lights
It can be tempting to ignore warning indicators until a company car is next booked in for a service, especially if it seems to be running fine. However, this is often a mistake in terms of safety as well as being a false economy. Get your car checked out at the next available opportunity if a dashboard light comes on.
Self Driving and Real-Time Tracking
While self-driving vehicles are in beta testing, they will soon share the roads with us. Take away human error, and the number of accidents should drop (we hope). The pandemic has pushed back the timeframe for the mass release of driverless cars, but they are coming, and until they do, there are other ways to keep your fleet safe, like cameras and real-time tracking systems, to name a couple.