Distracted driving can occur at any time and for a wide range of reasons, though there seem to be some common elements in what distracts drivers. If you run a business where employees are driving your fleet vehicles, you need to protect the drivers and your vehicles by preventing distractions.
Distracted driving can result from any type of cognitive distraction or manual distraction, whether it is due to the mind wandering to taking a hand off the wheel. Here are the top distractions fleet drivers might experience on the road.
Cell Phone Use
Using their cell phone is undoubtedly one of the very top distractions for fleet drivers. It includes checking their phone to use the Internet, reading or replying to text messages, answering the phone, and calling while driving.
All of these tasks not only keep the driver’s attention from the road, and sometimes their hand off the wheel, but it distracts their mind and they lose focus of what they are doing. The statistics of cell phone use, whether calling or texting, are alarming.
Eating and Drinking
Another behavior that might keep fleet drivers from giving their full attention to the road is eating or drinking. In fleet drivers specifically, this is quite common. In order to keep on schedule, fleet drivers might not take enough breaks for meals or coffee, and end up bringing it on the road. They assume it is no big deal. Unfortunately, they can end up getting distracted, have their hands full, or spill their beverage, all of which can lead to an accident.
Using a GPS
GPS units are often separate units in fleet vehicles, not attached to the driver’s cell phone. The driver relies on it to navigate where their next stop is, but it can also become a distraction. If they are driving while trying to input an address or change something on the GPS unit, it can make it hard for them to see the road properly. Even looking away for a second could mean the difference between being safe or getting into a collision. Newer GPS systems have a feature that prevents a driver from inputting an address while the vehicle is in motion.
Changing the Radio
The radio comes next on the list, though it is not typically as much of a distraction as cell phones and eating or drinking. The driver might be leaning forward to change the volume, change the channel, or is not fussing with it, but the song or talking on the radio is distracting them. Having fleet vehicles where the radio controls are on the steering wheel can help lower this distracted driving risk.
While not as common as other things that cause distracted driving, grooming is something both men and women drivers sometimes do. This might include styling their hair, putting on makeup, men shaving their face with an electric razor, or various other grooming tasks.
Train your drivers to avoid these distractions by requiring they eat and drink at rest stops, and program their GPS units before driving the vehicle. They should never text or call while driving, but pull over at the next available time if the call is urgent. As always, make sure your business auto insurance policy is up-to-date and adequate in coverage.