Car crashes are the most common cause of on-the-job fatalities in every business sector, and a growing concern for business owners. What can you do to ensure your employees are driving safely both on and off the job? The most effective way to influence your employees’ driving behaviors is to provide resources and have them sign written policies. Give your employees the “why” and the “how” of safe driving with these five tips.
1. Always wear a seat belt
According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, most crashes happen within 15 miles of home. Implement a strong policy requiring employees to wear seat belts when driving on company business, and urge them to buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip.
2. Control your speed
Faster speeds mean higher risk of a higher severity crash. At higher speeds, braking takes longer and loss of vehicle control is more likely, especially where evasive action is needed. Encourage employees to plan ahead for trips so they don’t feel pressured to drive fast.
3. Avoid distracted driving
The first step in preventing distracted driving is awareness about what common behaviors compete for your attention while behind the wheel. Set clear guidelines on cell phone use in the car. On long trips, encourage employees to stop every two hours to stretch, and set a limit for the number of miles they can safely drive each day. Support them in stopping for a short nap (15-45 minutes) if they become tired while driving.
4. Avoid impaired driving
Impairment by fatigue, drugs or alcohol can double a driver’s reaction time. Stress the importance of keeping a clear mind behind the wheel. Consider adding a drug and alcohol policy to your company’s safety program. Educate employees about the warning signs of an impaired driver, like swerving, driving very slowly, and braking erratically. Caution them to stay at a safe distance and alert the police if there is an unsafe driver on the road.
5. Perform regular vehicle maintenance
Keep fleet vehicles in proper repair and perform maintenance at the recommended mileage intervals. Have vehicles inspected annually and provide employees with a form for documenting maintenance and requesting repairs.
Getting your team to practice safe driving techniques takes a clear commitment from leadership. Start by setting realistic goals, and then provide your employees with the resources and motivation to get there. Some common goals are reducing liability, improving productivity, and of course, protecting your people. Find more safety resources in defensive driving and fleet management.