If your team is constantly on the road, you have ample reason to worry about your drivers’ safety. There are 6 million car accidents per year on average, with 90 traffic-related deaths per day. Your drivers must do everything they can to maximize safety for both themselves and other motorists. Unfortunately, traffic accidents can also severely impact your bottom line, so driver safety is both a business and ethical consideration.
Hard braking and acceleration – together known as hard driving – are leading causes of such accidents. Luckily, tools available in GPS fleet management software make it easier to identify and reduce hard driving in your fleet. Below, learn more about them and how to prevent them.
Hard driving is any sudden or unexpected change in a vehicle’s direction or speed. It includes taking corners too quickly, accelerating rapidly, and – perhaps the most common type – hard braking.
Hard braking is the application of more force than usual to a vehicle’s brakes. Your drivers may need to brake hard to avoid rear-ending another vehicle or joining a pile-up in front of them. In fact, hard braking is perhaps the most inevitable type of hard driving. More often than not, though, hard braking by your drivers is the result of their own poor driving habits rather than the world around them.
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Hard acceleration is the application of more force than usual to a vehicle’s gas pedal. This may be necessary when, for instance, your drivers approach a yellow traffic light. That’s because the larger the vehicle, the more time it needs – perhaps as long as six seconds – to come to a full stop.
Like hard braking, though, hard acceleration shouldn’t happen often. If it does, your team may be driving unsafely – and unsafe driving can have tremendous consequences for your business.
Hard driving by your team can have many negative impacts on your business.
Hard braking and acceleration can have dire consequences. You can protect your drivers and company by monitoring your drivers’ behaviors on the road. These are some specific reasons for doing so:
Keep these tips in mind to prevent and properly monitor hard driving.
Although your drivers can’t predict or control vehicles in front of them suddenly braking, they can minimize the chances of this obstacle becoming a disaster. All it takes is maintaining a safe distance between themselves and other vehicles. The same is true for setting speeds that drivers should never exceed. Set these distances and speeds with your drivers before they hit the road to minimize hard driving.
It’s one thing to set limits; it’s another to show your drivers how to stay within these confines. Hands-on training will go a long way in helping your drivers hit their marks before they get on the road, as will implementing driver scorecards that reflect your drivers’ safety habits. Both approaches can lead to a safer fleet that’s less prone to hard driving.
Whether you manually track all hard-braking alerts or turn to your software for thorough reports, you should use your data as the first step toward an action plan. For example, you can start a “driver of the month” program to reward whichever driver has the fewest hard-driving infractions. Conversely, you can implement mandatory retraining for drivers with more hard-driving incidents than a certain preset minimum.
Your drivers may feel more inclined toward hard acceleration – which can, in turn, lead to hard braking – if their routes require them to rush between locations to stay on track. In this regard, preventing hard braking is a matter of planning. Don’t expect your drivers to travel long distances in short times – spread things out so a driver can take their foot off the gas.
No, you can’t be in the passenger seat with all your drivers, but you can cap their speeds from afar. Devices that prevent vehicles from exceeding certain speeds are increasingly available. Though some people argue that these devices could prevent necessary instances of hard acceleration, if you’d rather your drivers err on the side of going slow, such devices may be viable solutions.
The single easiest way to track your team’s driving habits and collect relevant data is through GPS fleet management software. These platforms will help you generate the driver scorecards to keep your drivers accountable, locate your vehicles, and monitor your drivers’ travel in real time.
GPS fleet management software’s real-time tools are especially important, as they show you exactly when and where hard driving is happening. Choose GPS fleet management software with a reliable system of alerts and notifications, and an electronic logging device to keep you apprised of developments in real time. With this information, you can reach out to offending drivers before they get into accidents.