Back to School Means Defensive Driving for Small Business Fleet Drivers

Driving is a privilege states theNational Safety Council. It’s a privilege that also carries great responsibility. The organization goes on to admonish drivers to be responsible behind the wheel in many ways including wearing safety belts, driving sober, giving the road your full attention, and driving defensively.

Most fleet drivers do this already. However, the school year is approaching quickly and this means there are going to be young and inexperienced drivers on the road regularly. Couple that with the fact that theAAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently released astudy citing speeding as a major factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes without any teen passengers. Those numbers rose to 44 percent with two teen passengers and 48 percent with three or more. What can your drivers do to reduce the risk of devastating accidents during this critical time of year?

Be Mindful of Children Walking To and From School

Pay attention to areas around schools, especially, as they are often filled with children who have short attention spans, dart in and out of traffic, and do not necessarily follow the rules of the road. Be watchful and take it slow.

Check for Mechanical Soundness of the Car

This is the time of year when you most want blinkers, brakes, brake lights, headlights, and other mechanical parts of your fleet vehicles to operate at optimum efficiency. In addition to your other winter season risk reminders for small businesses, it’s also wise to have a decent vehicle checkup before everyone else is in a mad dash to winterize. Get in ahead of the crowd and rest assure that your vehicles are safe and sound.

Eliminate Distractions

Distracted driving is not a good plan no matter what time of the year it may be. However, as children are shaking off the cobwebs of summer and returning to the halls of learning (and thinking before acting – hopefully) it’s more important than ever to reduce distractions behind the wheel. Create distracted driving best practices policies that make it unattractive for employees to check messages, answer emails, fiddle with the radio station, put on mascara, watch videos, or prepare breakfast on the go in your fleet vehicles. Remember your business name is the one that’s associated with anything that happens in those vehicles.

Offer Defensive Driving Classes

Offer to pay for the classes yourself. These classes are truly eye-opening experiences for drivers and reveal poor safety habits your employees may not even realize they’re exhibiting. Defensive driving is so much more than simply watching out for those oh-so-dangerous teenage drivers on the road. It’s also driving while wide awake and aware of your surroundings, turning on your lights when it’s raining, foggy, snowing, or otherwise difficult to see oncoming traffic, watch for road hazards, and resist the urge to follow other drivers on the road too closely. That is how chain reaction wrecks occur.

Don’t forget the importance of maintaining adequate insurance coverage, including commercial auto insurance, to cover contingencies in case an accident does occur. These tips, when followed, will greatly reduce the likelihood of accidents — even during the school year.