Driving a heavy vehicle is not your common, ordinary office job, this is why for fleet managers, health and safety take on a completely different meaning. We have compiled a list of nine tips to guarantee that your HGV drivers are as safe as they possibly can be while on the road.
1. Safety Must Be Your Priority
Your number one priority should be safety. It should be more important for your drives than speed or efficiency, and as a company, it should be more important to you than your profit margin. The last thing you want is your drivers getting hurt or to lose business or income because of accidents. Drivers should be encouraged to speak up with any ideas they may have about safety – the insight they have may be different than that of your safe inspectors or yourself.
2. Regularly Check Your Vehicles
Thoroughly and regularly checking your vehicles can allow you to stop issues before they occur. Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial to maintaining your vehicles in safe conditions. Make sure to book them in and adhere to the schedule.
“Here is a great best practice tip to pass on to your drivers: prior to each journey, make a pre-trip inspection. This can avoid them finding themselves caught out with small things, for example, insufficient petrol!” says an HGV training expert at CPC Training.
3. Handle Dangerous Drivers
This one can be difficult – how are you able to know which one of the drivers are serial tailgaters? The great thing is that there are tools available that can help you monitor the way in which your vehicles are being driven.
4. Alcohol and Drug Testing
You would like to believe that your drivers would not place their own lives at risk by showing up at work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that being said you can also never really be aware of what other stress factors they may be experiencing which could potentially take them down this path.
An alcohol and drug testing regime is your best course of action. This will guarantee that no one under the influence will drive one of your vehicles – it can also allow the drivers in question to get the assistance they need.
5. Have Accident Procedures That Are Pre-defined
You can have every procedure and policy imaginable in place, however, there are times in which accidents will occur. As a fleet manager, the best thing you can do is be properly prepared for this eventuality. Create a procedure that in the event of an accident, drivers can follow and make sure that all drivers are clearly aware of it.
6. ‘Hands-Freeґ Setups Should Be Provided for Mobile Phones
If there is a change and you must contact one of your drivers, you want to do so without worrying them about what could happen if they were to answer their phone. Making sure that all drivers have peripherals for their mobile phones that are hands-free, meaning that they will be able to take calls when needed without putting other drivers or themselves at risk.
7. Route Planning
From a standpoint of efficiency and cost-reduction, route planning is a good practice which also has safety considerations. By making sure that your drives have sufficient time to complete their journeys, based off of actual data about the routes they will take, you can avoid journeys that are stressful where they have ample amount of time and do not feel as if they must rush.
8. Take the Weather Into Consideration
Make sure that you are always in the know about current weather reports. If the weather were to take an unpleasant turn, all of your route planning could be ruined. High winds are particularly concerning. If you see that this may be a problem then you should perhaps re-route your vehicles to avoid open rounds.
9. Policies and Training
So, now you are aware of the things to look out for as well what your drivers should be educated on. But how do you put it all into action? The key here would be policies and training. Things such as alcohol and drug testing and vehicle inspection must be enshrined in policies, and these policies must be adhered to as well as enforced across the business.
In order for this to be effective, you have to makes sure that there is a professional relationship that works both ways, between the drivers and the fleet managers.