Did you know that the number of licensed drivers in the US in 2019 was 227,752 thousand—and that this number is estimated to be counted as having been 230,000 thousand in 2020? Many people are on the road, which means that the potential for accidents is high.
This fact can be scary to be aware of. Especially if you run a business that has a fleet of vehicles, and road safety is one of your top concerns, these risks affect your business and the people in it you care about.
To ensure that your employees are safe, you need to be aware of all the different road safety rules so that you can tell your employees about them. You also need to come up with the right road safety tips applicable to the vehicles in your fleet. Putting all this information together can be stressful and take up a lot of time.
That’s why we’re providing this article to you. By telling you everything you need to know about road safety for your employees, you can ensure they’re safe on the road and focus on what matters most: running your business successfully. Read on to learn more.
Be Aware of Your Responsibilities
The first thing you need to know, as a business owner of a company that has employees driving, is what your responsibilities are. These responsibilities are both legal and practical. By knowing what you should be taking care of, you’ll know what you’re responsible for versus what your employees are responsible for.
The Vehicles in Your Fleet
When you’re managing a large number of vehicles in your fleet, you need to ensure you do everything properly with them before allowing your employees to use them. The first step in this is doing a safety check of the car, including any that are legally required, such as smog checks.
Do any safety checks that ensure your employees’ safety when using your fleet. The guidelines you follow should be those mandated by your state as well as on the federal level.
Do Employee Safety Checks
Once you’ve ensured that the cars in your fleet are safe to drive, you need to make sure that your employees are responsible enough to be driving them safely. The first thing you need to do in these terms is checking that your employees have valid driver’s licenses.
This is a check you should do regularly. Additionally, you need to create a process so that your employees can let you know if they have any health issues that impair their driving or if they are taking medication that would do the same.
Depending on how you run your business, you might also require random alcohol or drug testing. Additionally, provide any training if the vehicles on your fleet are difficult to handle as compared to ordinary cars.
Do the Right Paperwork
Additionally, you need to do the right paperwork when ensuring the safety of your fleet. For example, you need to put together a document with all the safety expectations you have for your employees. We’ll discuss this a bit more later in this article.
You also need to fill out any auto insurance information, insuring both the vehicle and drivers for business use when they’re driving for your company. That way, if there is an accident, coverage is given accordingly.
Use a Check-Off Sheet
Now that you know what your general responsibilities are when it comes to fleet safety, we’ll cover the different strategies you can apply to ensure that the people driving your fleet are safe in practice. The first of these is to have your employees use a check-off sheet whenever they use one of your fleet’s vehicles.
This check-off sheet should be filled out both when they pick up the vehicle and when they drop it off. That way, if there are any issues with the car or actual damage, they can report it immediately, so that any safety issues are addressed before the next driver uses the car.
Give Your Expectations
It’s also important to give your employees what expectations you have when it comes to car and road safety. By demonstrating how you expect them to drive the car and what steps they need to take before and after using it, they will know what you mean by car safety. When giving your employees your expectations, ensure you cover:
- What will happen if they misuse the company vehicle
- What traffic laws they need to follow, especially those related to distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or anything else, and speeding
- What their responsibilities are if there’s an accident, even if it was caused by a driver who wasn’t them
- Who they need to contact if there’s an accident, and what the numbers are for your company’s auto insurance provider and roadside assistance provider
- Rules related to what to do when they’re away from the vehicle (for example, delivering a package), such as locking it and putting the keys in the right place
- Whether you will ask drivers to take alcohol or drug tests
- Your policy on cell phone use (we recommend having drivers not use them at all, even if they are wth
By providing your employees with these guidelines, they’ll know exactly what traffic rules they need to heed the most and which road safety signs apply to them. Additionally, they’ll have a protocol they can follow if they’re in an accident.
Additional Safety Considerations
In addition to having set expectations for how your employees should use their cars, there are additional safety considerations you need to think about. By making these considerations part of your company’s processes, your employees will have all the advantages of road safety awareness.
If you’re committed to your employees’ safety when driving the cars in your fleet, we recommend you cover their driving lessons. Especially if your fleet is made up of different vehicles than those we normally use (for example, trucks), then providing your staff with driving lessons is essential.
Additionally, if your employees are expected to drive through inclement weather, rush hour traffic, or in the middle of the night when visibility is low, providing them with driving lessons that focus on these types of environments for driving will keep everyone safer.
Depending on the type of driving lessons you offer your employees, you might be able to get a discount on your fleetwide car insurance. Speak with your provider about this.
Specific Vehicle Safety
Many vehicles work differently than others. When providing your employees with access to your fleet, explain the different security features of the vehicle, so that they know what to do in different emergencies. Additionally, ensure they know how to use technological features such as sat-navs or cruise control properly.
Safe Storage and Parking
You should also give your employees guidance on how to store things in the car. If there is a crash, you want to ensure there isn’t the risk of anything flying out toward them and hurting them (or the car). Additionally, they should know about the safest places to park, and how to park so that they are less likely to damage your fleet’s car or another car.
Have a Fleet Safety Meeting
Once you know what expectations and security measures you’ll be covering with your employees, as well as what you’ll include in the check-off sheet for them to review when they pick up or drop off a car, you can cement all this knowledge by having a fleet safety meeting.
When holding your meeting, do it in a parking lot so you can show your employees exactly what you mean when explaining car features and what to check off when they’re completing their check-off sheet. You can also do training there so that they learn by doing, internalizing what you’ve taught them in the meeting.
You can also have additional fleet safety meetings in the office, where you review all the rules and regulations in presentations and videos. We suggest that you have these office meetings monthly, with the fleet safety meeting being required every few months—and for any new employee when you hire them.
Provide Documented Guidance
Once you’ve done the fleet safety meeting and reviewed everything with your employees, you should provide documented guidance for them. This way, they can refer to it whenever necessary. Have a version saved online of all your company’s rules and regulations. Additionally, include a binder with all of these regulations in each vehicle in your company fleet.
Providing documented guidance also makes it possible for your employees to take tests on their knowledge of rules. Have them study up every month or so, after which you’ll give them a test to ensure they know what they need to know.
Winter Driving Tips
Because driving during the winter can be so dangerous, we’ve put together some strategies you definitely want your employees to use when driving safely in the winter. The last thing you want is for an employee’s life to be in danger because they’re out on the side of the road in the middle of a blizzard with no one to help them.
Inspect the Car Before Driving
The first thing your drivers need to do when driving in winter is to inspect the car before driving. They should ensure the battery is working (since cold temperatures can affect its function), that fluid levels are at the right level, that all lights are working, and that brakes and windshield wipers are working.
Additionally, because the cold can affect tire pressure, they should make sure tires are filled up properly. Also, the windshield defroster and heater should be working. Finally, the gas tank should be between half and fully full. This way the driver can stay warm even if the car gets stuck in a snowbank or on ice.
Have the Right Gear
When driving a vehicle in winter, a driver needs to have the right gear. This includes being properly dressed for the weather (in case it does get cold) and having winter-related car gear such as jumper cables, extra wiper fluid, a snow scraper and snow brush, and a flashlight.
Use the Right Driving Techniques
Driving safely in the winter requires a driver to use the right driving techniques. As mentioned, this is where providing your drivers with driving lessons can be helpful. Some of these driving techniques include:
- Not driving close to snowplows, since their visibility is limited
- Not stopping when going uphill, since the vehicle can slide backward if it’s an icy surface
- Knowing how to use the brakes properly, especially on icy surfaces; the driver should also be aware of the car having antilock brakes since these work differently
- Not using cruise control
- Follow cars from a larger distance, since braking can take longer on roads that are slippery or icy
- Driving slowly, because driving fast on roads that are slippery or icy is dangerous
By telling your employees about the right driving techniques, the right gear, and how to inspect their car before driving in winter, they’ll be safer when driving on roads in the winter. This information is also worth documenting so that they can review it before getting into their car on a cold winter day.
Do You Need More Road Safety Tips?
Do you need more road safety tips? Maybe you want to know about the best insurance for your business’s fleet or how to best prepare your team in a fleet safety meeting. Whatever you need to know, we’re here to help.
At Advantage Insurance Solutions, we’re experts when it comes to keeping you and your team safe. We can give you more road safety tips or talk with you about the best insurance options to keep you covered. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us here.