Driving a heavy vehicle is a difficult job. This is why health and safety should be the top priority for fleet managers. HGV experts at Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training have revealed their 9 tips to help improve the safety of your HGV drivers.
1. Safety should always come first
The safety of your drivers should always be your top priority. It is way more important than speed, efficiency or even the profit margin of the company. An injured driver could cost you a lot of income or business, so it’s in your best interest that your drivers are as safe on the road as possible. Encourage your drivers to tell you what they need in terms of safety. They might provide you valuable insights which safety inspectors may not.
2. Perform regular inspections on all vehicles
By performing regular maintenance on all your vehicles, you can detect and fix all issues before they become huge problems. Regular inspections are the best way to keep your vehicles in excellent condition.
You should also train your drivers to perform a thorough pre-trip inspection before each of their journeys. This will also help them prevent various annoyances such as running out of petrol or cooling liquid.
3. Detect aggressive driving and put an end to it
It’s hard to detect which of your drivers are guilty of aggressive driving. However, there are solutions to allow you to monitor their driving style.
4. Test your drivers for alcohol and drugs
It’s hard to imagine a driver would endanger his own life by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Nonetheless, you don’t know what kind of hardships they have to cope with in their private life, that could determine them to take this path.
You should implement a testing procedure and impose it on all your drivers. This is going to be an effective screening so that you can make sure none of the drivers would get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
5. Have an accident procedure in place
Accidents happen, this is a life fact. You can have the best procedures ever and still not be able to avoid accidents completely. As a fleet manager, you should expect the best but prepare for the worst. Develop a procedure for drivers to follow in case they get involved in an accident. Make sure all drivers are aware of what they need to do in this event.
6. Install “hands-free” devices for mobile phones
As you may need to contact your drivers while they are on the road, you should make sure they can pick up the call in absolute safety.
You should ensure high-quality hands-free devices are installed in all vehicles. Don’t rely on drivers to buy their own equipment as they may not want to spend money on something they consider as safety equipment.
7. Route planning
Route planning can help you cut your costs and make your drivers more efficient. You should give your drivers enough time to complete their journeys by calculating the amount of time they need to cover the planned route to their destination. The last thing you want is your drivers to feel rushed and do foolish things only for gaining a few minutes here and there.
8. Consider checking weather forecasts
Weather reports should be part of your route planning procedure. You need to take into consideration bad weather forecasts and allow your drivers more time to complete their journeys. You may even need to re-route some of the vehicles to avoid a storm, a heavy rain or massive snowfalls.
9. Policies and training
These are all the little things you can do for the safety of your drivers. Nonetheless, what are you going to do to reinforce all these rules and procedures? Policies and training are your allies here. You have to write all these things in your policies and then make sure all drivers receive the training required for them to become aware of what they need to do. This is the best way you can enforce these policies across your business and make sure everybody knows and follows them.