Distracted driving causes thousands of accidents and fatalities each year. How do fleet drivers avoid distracted driving? By getting the proper driving training and in-cab coaching while also putting the best practices for safe driving to work every time they get behind the wheel
It’s an unfortunate reality that avoiding distracted driving can be the difference between life and death. In 2018 alone, more than 2,800 people in the United States died in crashes caused by distracted driving. Another 400,000 suffered injuries.
For commercial drivers, learning strategies for safe driving is part of doing the job well. Telematics solutions offer support to avoid distracted driving, including specialized coaching and in-cab alerts. But the work begins with the drivers themselves. The following strategies provide a good first step in the right direction.
Steps For Fleet Drivers to Avoid Distracted Driving
Some of the following involve removing issues that could distract a driver later, such as equipment not working properly. Others involve steps to take in the cabin while driving that help reduce distractions and keep drivers focused on the road.
Perform Safety Checks
Every driver should begin each trip by making some simple but important safety checks. They include checking headlights, making sure front and rear headlamps are working, and testing turn signals. Measuring tire pressure also is an important safety check, as is looking under the hood to ensure there are no loose objects or hoses.
Do Not Use Mobile Device
Some companies employ software to make sure drivers don’t use their mobile devices when behind the wheel. That’s how dangerous texting, talking or reading something on the internet are when behind the wheel. Mobile devices are designed to attract and keep your attention. It’s important to never use them when driving for any reason other than an emergency.
Keep Hands on the Wheel
Maintaining control of the vehicle at all times is critical to safe driving. However, becoming distracted by something in the cabin can lead to the driver taking their hands off the wheel. That leads to partial or complete loss of control of the vehicle – never a good thing. The most common issue in this area involves trying to eat or drink when behind the wheel.
Keep Attention Focused
Losing attention and focus is a problem for all drivers at one time or another. On long stretches of road, people daydream. Or they may become drowsy and take their eyes off the road. Whatever the cause, a loss of attention can lead to crashes because it costs drivers precious extra seconds in which they can take defensive action if a potential crash scenario quickly develops.
Adjust Driving to Conditions
The environment can also distract drivers from the road. This is especially the case if the weather turns bad. Drivers should get training that prepares them to adjust their driving behaviors depending on the situation around them – including sudden storms or fog.
Other Tips While Driving
Some other ideas that can keep drivers alert and also avoid other issues include:
- Keeping an eye on the behavior of other drivers and spotting potential trouble early
- Making sure all mirrors are adjusted correctly before starting the vehicle
- Getting training in smart driving skills, such as not speeding, not abruptly breaking, taking corners at slower speeds, keeping a distance from other traffic, etc.
- Getting adequate sleep each night to stay alert and avoid drowsiness
Software solutions can help train drivers and alert them when issues are detected in the cabin. But the best way for truck drivers to avoid distracted driving is to start to modify their own behavior. The results are safer roads for both them and other drivers.