Just one motor vehicle accident could affect your fleet company’s operations, finances, and even reputation. Most importantly, it could affect the health of your employees, and all the people involved in the incident. Getting your drivers some defensive driving safety training is, without question, the wisest thing you can do for your business. At the same time, it’s a mindful and considerate act for the public welfare.
Tapping into the defensive driving philosophy
Defensive driving is, essentially, a form of mental training. On one hand, it’s all about being aware of your emotional and psychological state when driving; on the other hand, it’s about being alert and anticipating the actions of other road users, at all times. Altogether, developing this type of proactive behavior is critical for saving lives; and, to be frank, businesses too — especially since we speak of commercial drivers’ demeanor.
Practically speaking, a defensive driver gets behind the wheel expecting the worst. Such a driver knows that the act of driving is dangerous and mastering the rules of the road isn’t enough; even though it is a must. Their goal is, by all means, to reduce the risk of collision, by ‘predicting’ dangerous driving conducts and situations.
“Hey, I’m not a psychic!”, I hear you say, dear driver. And you’re right. Nonetheless, this is something everyone can do. For the art of anticipating is — like all forms of art — acquired; it takes time and continuous, conscious practice. Think about it for a minute; we’re talking about saving lives here, we can’t afford to compromise! Hence, that’s when — and how — defensive driving safety training gets into the picture.
“OK, how can I practice defensive driving then?”. Now, that’s the spirit! Well, you can start by adhering to the common guidelines; such as, following the assured clear distance ahead and two-second rules. Then, you can move onward to the practice of more specific defensive driving techniques. With this in mind, we’ve put together some general principles to help you get an idea. Let’s steer through them together, shall we?
Defensive driving techniques
In order to have a wholesome approach to safe driving, you should break it down to three main principles; which are, pretty much, the three cornerstones of defensive driving. Next, you should narrow them down to relevant rules of thumb. To elaborate:
1. Following general principles:
- Adhere to all road rules
- Be aware of everything that is going on; within you, inside your vehicle, in your surroundings
- Be prepared; expect the unexpected
- Be alert; keep your focus fixed and never give in to distractions
- Be in total control; from your vehicle’s operation to your state of being
2. Regarding other road users and pedestrians:
- Learn to share the road
- Anticipate other people’s actions and reactions
- Be patient, show understanding, and be forgiving of other people’s mistakes
3. Taking care of your vehicle:
- Always conduct a simple vehicle check-up before driving (tire air pressure, battery, oil and coolant levels, brake, steering and other fluids, lights, etc)
- Never neglect maintenance, service and repairs
- Adjust both your vehicle and driving according to weather, and/or road conditions
To be sure, a feasible and workable plan, right? Keep in mind: be a happy warrior and hold your ground, no matter what. You’ve got this ✌!
Why should a fleet owner invest in a defensive driving safety training course?
A defensive driving safety training course is a great way to educate your employees on safe driving habits. It goes without saying, it will help you curb potential safety issues down the road, and save your company money; for instance: on fines, penalties, insurance, downtime, and repairs.
Speaking of money, motor vehicle crashes can cost you a lot. Apart from that, your business is exposed to liability risks and legal expenses; to say nothing of valuable time and productivity lost, or increased insurance premiums, and employees’ healthcare costs.
In all, implementing a defensive driving safety training program will help your fleet business:
- keep its greatest asset, its people, safe
- contribute to the decrease in traffic accidents, thus
- create a strong, public-spirited brand
- avoid liability risks and legal outlay
- reduce insurance premiums and medical compensation claims
- cut down on fuel costs (speeding, sudden acceleration, hard braking)
- reduce additional vehicle service, repairs, and parts replacement
Monitoring your fleet’s defensive driving safety training at a click of a button
Gaining insight into your fleet employees’ driving behaviors can help streamline your efforts against hazardous driving habits. In other words, if your defensive driving safety training is to pay off, a fleet management tool is imperative. Using fleet Telematics in the vanguard, you can monitor driver behavior at a click of a button — quite literally. So, here are 5 ways to leverage the perks of a fleet management system for coaching your fleet vehicle drivers:
1. Create KPIs
As a starting point, it’s very important to set up KPIs for your fleet employees’ driving habits. This way, you’ll have a benchmark based on which you can easily measure progress; for both your overall fleet, and each individual driver, separately. Define a specific time-frame of evaluation, and note down driver scores to compare them to future scores. Over time, you will have a clear picture of driving performance and behavior, which will serve as a baseline for your fleet’s defensive driving safety training.
2. Identify undesired driving behaviors
In all likelihood, you’ll identify a few poor driving behaviors among your fleet drivers; like, distracted or careless driving — or even aggressive driving. The first thing to do, as a good practice, is carefully analyze the context of these conducts; for example, are they incidental, or are they a habit? Subsequently, drawing from the KPI data, you can address this issue to optimize your drivers’ defensive driving safety training course.
3. Design an ongoing training system
The key to changing hazardous driving habits is through awareness, and an ongoing defensive driving safety training. Chances are, many of your fleet drivers may not even realize they’re behaving poorly behind the wheel. When you notify them of this fact, and the risks they run, they’ll become aware and work towards correcting them. By educating your drivers, both new and seasoned, you’ll make them feel supported and motivated. As a result, you’ll save money, and — most importantly — lives!
4. Acknowledge and reward conscientious driving behavior
Clearly, your employees — like all people — need to be validated; especially when it comes to their on-the-job efforts, and especially from you, an authority figure. Always acknowledge good driving behavior, and, why not, go a step further; offer a reward. Mind you, it doesn’t matter how big or small the reward will be; day after day, it will reinforce the desideratum behavior and will motivate your drivers to continue striving for excellence.
5. Enhance screening for new hires
Leveraging your driver behavior patterns database, means you can establish data-based hiring standards; which, in turn, will help you hire the right people. Making the most of the insights offered by fleet management software, you’ll know what behaviors to look out for. By the same token, you can plan your screening process accordingly.
Make no bones about it — fleet owners/managers, have a lot on their plate. One of their biggest concerns is the safety of their fleet vehicle drivers and freight; of course, along with other drivers and road users.
Truth be told, an ongoing defensive driving safety training program is the best thing they can do for their employees; no matter how experienced drivers they are. For one, this kind of training will help them become aware of their driving habits. Also, it will keep them continuously examining their behavior behind the wheel, and thus, take right action. That’s it! We do hope we managed to offer you some insights on the merits of a defensive driving safety training program. Ιf, however, you want to know more about Veturilo and how it can help you streamline your fleet management; visit our page here.