Safety is undoubtedly among fleet managers’ top concerns as there is no single method or solution to every risk you may encounter. There seem to be more hazards to be aware of and maintenance issues to address at every turn. Above all, you have drivers to look after, so they don’t act complacently while on the job.
This makes it crucial for you to have a safety program that addresses their changing habits and how they meet the company’s needs. When you’re able to keep track of budding concerns and nip them at the onset, then you significantly reduce the hazards to their safety, your operations, and your company as a whole.
That said, there are recurring problems that fleet managers have to keep an eye on at all times. These are the ones that are likely to cause you the most trouble.
Aggressive driving is one of the primary causes of fatal crashes. Of all the factors attributed to this attitude on the road, it’s speeding that increases the likelihood of getting into an accident.
However, often aggressive driving isn’t a result of a driver doing it out of habit, although that’s always a consideration you have to make. Stressors can force them to go beyond their usual speed in order to meet their deadlines.
Some of the most common ones experienced in fleets are pressures from their higher-ups. They might receive panicked or emotionally-charged calls in the middle of their journey, or they could be held up by a new road construction they hadn’t anticipated. When they know their tardiness will be taken against them regardless if their reason is valid, they’re more likely to run red lights, overtake other cars, and make other reckless decisions that put them at risk.
As a fleet manager, you have the responsibility to know what exactly triggers your drivers to resort to recklessness. Are there company policies that should be amended? Do you all have to work on your teamwork and camaraderie? Make this a topic of conversation in your next meeting and find ways to resolve them properly.
It’s not difficult to see why drivers are so distracted nowadays. You have giant billboards on the side of the road, flashing signage, and other cars that draw attention to themselves.
Of course, there’s no forgetting the portable technology everyone carries around with them. It’s been a longstanding issue because drivers keep reading texts while driving. Talking on the phone can be a serious distraction for a lot of people. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, so the few distracted moments of tending to texts and calls can prove fatal.
Fleet managers and other people in the company have to ensure that their policies are clear. If someone from the company is repeatedly making contact with the drivers knowing full well that they’re on the road, they should be aware of the risks they’re causing.
It should also be clear to the drivers when and how they’re supposed to receive calls from the company. Is it alright to neglect them altogether while driving, or should they find the nearest available spot to park so that they can respond?
You also have to help your drivers address irresponsible drivers that they’ll encounter. They could be trying to swerve out of the way of a car that’s behaving strangely only to collide with another car that was getting out of its way as well. That’s not to mention how different weather conditions can make anyone lose focus.
It’s always a good idea to invest in defensive driving courses from the American Safety Institute to equip your drivers for such instances. Ensuring that they know how to maneuver themselves out of tricky road situations will improve your chances of avoiding accidents.
Many people will gladly miss out on a doctor’s appointment to show up to work. They’ll dismiss questions about their health and assure everyone that they’re up for the job. Once they’re on the road, there’s no telling how their health will impact not only them and their vehicle but the surrounding people and vehicles too. There are also instances wherein they’d self-medicate without anticipating side-effects like drowsiness.
As the fleet manager, you need to create a system that enables your drivers to see the care they need before they go on their journey. You also have to create a culture that makes it comfortable for them to be honest about their health and their ability to perform on certain days. Simply making these options available can drastically improve how you manage your fleet and prevent accidents.
Companies must protect themselves. You must hold your drivers accountable when they get in trouble en route because they didn’t access any of the assistance available.
It’s a lot of work
It’s never easy managing a fleet, but keeping tabs on these issues is one of the best preventive methods you can employ. At the end of the day, it all boils down to how the company can create policies and opportunities to help their drivers and how willingly drivers will cooperate with their employers.