Safety is the biggest concern for any fleet manager since it involves driving large vehicles that pose a significant threat to the drivers and others on the road.
Fleet managers need to ensure the drivers are adequately trained and are following safety norms set by the FMCSA and DOT. They have to ensure that they are not involved in any reckless driving behavior or being distracted while driving trucks.
Why? Because a single mistake can lead to accidents, and a fleet can lose its valuable employees and assets. And you get burdened with lawsuits. Any small impact can result in expensive repairs, increase insurance, lose customers’ trust, and harm your business’s productivity.
So how can you improve the safety of your fleet? Here are the 8 essential tricks drivers safety tips to minimize risk that you can implement in your organization to maximize safety and reduce any accident possibilities.
Truck Accidents On The Rise
The trucking industries are one of the most dangerous working professions in the world. According to a report, road crashes are expected to become a leading cause of death in the USA by 2030. There are several reasons for the accidents, but truck accidents are one of the most common road accidents.
Some reasons for truck accidents are reckless driving activity, distracted driving, truck malfunction, and environmental causes.
These accidents are harmful to drivers and businesses.
8 Essential Tricks Drivers Safety Tips To Minimize Risk
Defensive driving is a type of driving that encourages truck drivers to look for potential danger and changes in road conditions. In this way, they can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and make good decisions while keeping themselves and others safe.
Here are some strategies for defensive driving techniques that your driver can use;
- There are many blind spots in a large vehicle. A driver should be trained to check mirrors every 8 to 10 seconds to be aware of the vehicles entering the blind area. Additionally, keep an eye on the road in front to avoid colliding with the trucks.
- You have to be aware that large trucks need more distance than smaller ones to stop suddenly. To be precise, you need two football fields to stop. So if you are thinking of stepping on the brake suddenly, you need to ensure that you are at a safe distance.
- Always be careful while making wide turns. Give a signal and check the vehicle behind to ensure a safe turn.
- To avoid front and rear collisions, you should practice the 3-second rule. Count 3 seconds before reaching the same spot as the vehicle to avoid any impacts. You can increase the number of seconds according to the road and weather conditions.
- Always be prepared for an emergency beforehand. A trucking journey is full of suspense. You will never know what can happen, for example, sudden breakdowns or bad weather. You should prepare a kit to address these situations.
- After eating lunch, you should take breaks. Yes, even if you don’t feel lethargic, you should.
- Also, buckle up before starting your journey.
- Road rage is not safe for any driver. But it increases multifold when driving a big vehicle like a truck. You should stay calm and collected while driving. You should not get irritated by other drivers who can honk, cut off or harass you through other means.
Remember, you are driving for the company. It is your responsibility to deliver the goods safely to the customer. Also, you have a family at home waiting for you.
Preventive Maintenance Schedule
Another thing that can elevate your driver safety program to the next level is by practicing an effective preventive maintenance strategy. It is a step that involves regular truck maintenance to ensure smooth operations.
Just like routine heal checkups, preventive maintenance helps to identify problem areas on time and resolve them before they become bigger. In this way, you can also check the significant safety components of your vehicle and ensure that they work in an emergency.
For example, regular inspection of brakes, seatbelts, horns, and lights, ensures that the driver is safe while using the truck and can respond to the emergency better, preventing road accidents and saving lives.
Distracted driving is a common problem among truck drivers in the USA. According to the FMCSA, it is one of the leading causes of accidents.
Distracted driving is a form of driving where the driver is not paying attention to the road in front of them as they are busy using their phone, eating something, or listening to music. It is dangerous as it can lead to casualties.
And as a fleet manager, you have to ensure that your driver is not distracted while driving.
Forms of distracted driving are:
- Phone usage
- Face hidden
- Not responsive
- Camera interference
- Unauthorized driving
For this, you can take the help of an in-cab dash cam for live monitoring. Or you can also use the Matrack dash cam that uses AI-enabled technology to detect any form of distracted driving and send alerts to the driver and the managers.
Reckless Driving Behavior
Reckless driving behavior is where the driver drives the vehicle recklessly and with utter negligence of others’ safety on the road. It is a grave crime, and your fleet has to pay for the result. It can lead to an increase in CSA scores.
Further, you can also lose your CDL license. And it can hurt your driving report.
To prevent reckless driving in your fleet, you can adopt various steps:
- You can use a GPS telematics solution to gain real-time insight into your vehicles. It will send you real-time alerts as it detects reckless driving activity.
- Many fleet telematics solutions also generate a report card on your driver’s driving skills. Additionally, it also gives scores to them.
- You should also pay attention to time management so your drivers are not late for the delivery. Why is it important? Because when they are getting late, they will step on the accelerator.
- You should also organize training programs to help your driver overcome their shortcomings.
A dashcam is essential safety equipment that monitors the real-time activity of the vehicle. It helps you to cover all the blind spots and ensure your driver can see the whole road in front and behind them.
Dashcams are crucial safety assets for your fleet. It can help your drivers to avoid false litigations and collect evidence to show who was at the fault for the accidents. You can also use the in-cab dash cam to monitor the inside activity of the truck and ensure that the driver is not distracted while driving.
Real-time GPS Tracker
Real-time GPS can help improve your fleet safety in many ways.
First, it provides real-time insight into the vehicle, so you don’t have to rely on phone calls for updates. Also, you won’t have to disturb your drivers to pick up the phone while driving. The other benefit of the GPS tracker is that you can send immediate backups for the driver in case of an accident or emergency. In this way, your work will not stop, and with timely help, the casualties can be reduced.
The other notable benefits of the GPS tracker are better vehicle maintenance, real-time notifications, geofencing, etc.
Encourage Proper Rest
A tired driver behind the wheel is dangerous for the people on the road.
When a person is sleepy or tired, they cannot make decisions. It is risky for every driver, but it increases severalfold when driving a truck, as you are risking your and others’ lives too.
And this is the reason why FMCSA and DoT have implemented HoS rules. It restricts the driver’s working hours and ensures that they are fresh and active while driving. You need to have an ELD onboard to record working hours.
You should not see it as compliance but also as a responsibility. Drivers are properly rested before starting their work. You should encourage your drivers to relax and not do other things off-duty.
According to FMCSA, the ELD rule helped avoid 1,844 crashes and 562 injuries annually.
You should also pay equal attention to route planning to increase the safety of your drivers and ensure minimum breakdown.
You can use the telematics solution while planning the route. It can help you to view the live road conditions and choose the way accordingly. You can identify traffic conditions and construction on the path and avoid them.
Similarly, you should also pay attention to the weather conditions of the road before planning a journey. Bad weather can reduce the visibility and friction of the tires and cause accidents.
Importance Of Implementing A Training Program
A proactive training program can also help you to improve fleet safety. It can help you train drivers to avoid reckless driving practices and address adverse situations. It also helps the driver get familiar with the vehicle they operate and uses it efficiently.
You should start by identifying your training needs and reviewing current risks in your fleet. You can use the fleet management software to generate a detailed report of the driving practices in your organization.
After that, choose an effective training program that suits your organization best. There are several types of programs that you can choose from:
- Group training sessions
- Online learning solution
- On-road driving training
- Individual driver coaching
Group training sessions are the best way to train all your employees. It is often used to resolve common problems or implement safety practices.
Online learning solution is a new way to train your drivers. The drivers can use their devices and learn new driving techniques from their homes. They can also Facetime the trainer and resolve their issues.
One of the best ways to train your driver is to provide one-on-one sessions on the road with the trainer. In this weather, the trailer can identify the driver’s driving skills and help them to resolve it.
Individual driver coaching is also a good way to train your drivers. You can use the telematics solution to generate a report card for the drivers. Say driver A has a poor driving score. You can call them individuals and help them resolve it by counseling or organizing training programs.
Do you know most fleet accidents occur due to the reckless driving behavior of your driver? Fleet managers must analyze the driver’s driving behavior in their organization and take action accordingly. You can follow these steps to improve fleet safety.
Additionally, don’t restrict yourself. Keep reviewing your fleet safety technique according to the changing demands of the organization.
James Johnson is a former truck driver who now works as a writer, specializing in the trucking industry. With over 15 years of experience on the road, James has a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities faced by truck drivers and the trucking industry as a whole. His writing focuses on issues such as safety, regulation, and the latest industry trends. His work has been featured in several trucking publications and he has received recognition for his contributions to the industry. In his free time, James still enjoys being around trucks and often attends truck shows and other industry events.