How to Prevent Distracted Driving in a Connected World

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In this article, you will learn about:

  • Distracted driving needs to be taken seriously to reduce accidents, prevent fatalities, and minimize expenses related to accidents, etc.
  • Drivers should know defensive driving techniques to be on the lookout for potential dangers and respond quickly to changes in road conditions.
  • Create preventative maintenance schedules to ensure fleet vehicles are in top shape and pose no danger to drivers.
  • Pre-trip and post-trip inspections are an integral part of ensuring driver safety.
  • Review routes to keep an eye on driving techniques.
  • Use GPS tracking to respond to emergencies and send assistance.
  • Provide guidance to drivers if you notice distracted driving indicators like speeding, harsh braking, and so on.
  • Ensure drivers aren’t overworked or fatigued by ensuring they get adequate rest and take breaks when required.
  • Reward good driving behaviour by creating safety report cards and maintaining driver ratings.

Distracted driving can happen due to many reasons – you can get a text, your mind could be on something else, you are talking on the phone, etc. For drivers operating fleet vehicles, it is all the more important to ensure that distractions are minimized as much as possible. Even a moment’s distraction that causes them to take their eyes off the road can lead to a fatal accident.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving in a Connected World

Did you know that transportation and logistics fleets have some of the highest numbers of injuries and fatalities on the job? The numbers are only growing with each passing year, so it is high time fleet managers take the safety of drivers even more seriously. By improving driver safety, you ensure their protection, along with that of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicle drivers, and reduce expenses associated with accidents, claim payouts, and rises in insurance premiums.

Here is how you can prevent distracted driving in a connected world:

Coach drivers on defensive driving techniques

Defensive driving encourages drivers to be on the lookout for potential hazards and changes in driving or road conditions. This way, the risk of accidents and consequent injuries is reduced as they can anticipate dangerous situations and take safe, well-informed actions, while behind the wheel. It means you can worry less about expensive repairs, insurance premium increases, claim payouts, reputation damage, etc.

Here are some tips they can follow:

  • Don’t forget to signal – Drivers who operate during non-peak traffic times or over longer distances, are often inclined to complete lane changes and exit highways without signalling. Remind drivers that signalling before they change lanes or turn is a legal requirement, even if they don’t see other vehicles in the vicinity.
  • Be on the lookout for blind spots – Ask drivers to look over their shoulders and out the windows while changing lanes, as rear-view and side mirrors aren’t always effective when checking for blind spots. There should be sufficient room around their vehicles when merging.
  • Slow down if they have doubts – If drivers face bad weather or poor visibility, they should always slow down. It gives them the window of time to take corrective action or respond to sudden changes such as a pedestrian suddenly crossing in front or slippery roads during rain. It can prevent accidents, or at least decrease the impact and severity if an incident does occur.
  • Preparation for emergencies – Road conditions can change rapidly, so your drivers have to be prepared accordingly. Be it bad driving conditions or breakdowns, they can’t be caught unawares. Ensure that they stock vehicles with water, snacks, a first aid kit, a change of clothes, and blankets, so they can pull off the road or wait long periods for vehicle repairs in case of unexpected conditions.

Preventative maintenance schedules go a long way

Vehicles that aren’t up-to-date with their regular maintenance are more likely to break down on the road. Connected Fleet software and OBD devices offer real-time visibility into odometer and engine data, including fault codes. With the help of this data, fleet managers can create robust preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, days, previous breakdown history, and so on. They can even get real-time alerts for critical fault codes. Through regular upkeep and proactive repairs, you can ensure your vehicles are in top shape so drivers can avoid breakdowns on their routes.

Pre-trip and post-trip inspections are a must

The vehicles need to be inspected thoroughly to ensure they are safe, prior to drivers starting their shifts, and after they have come back from completing their tasks. Inspections should be meticulous and accurately documented. If anything looks out of place, the issue should be escalated and appropriate prescriptive action can be taken by repairing or replacing a faulty part.

Go over routes properly

When it comes to Connected Fleet software, they can show an interactive replay of routes via GPS tracking technology. This lets you take a peek at the visual history of your driver’s activity, review indicators of distracted driving, and playback each driver’s history to spot unsafe driving patterns. When drivers have to make longer trips, break down the routes into segments, so you can meticulously assess their driving abilities.
Use real-time GPS tracking

A fleet management platform like Connected Fleet provides real-time GPS tracking, so you know the exact location of drivers at all times. You can set up alerts and be notified immediately regarding breakdowns and other emergency situations. For instance, if the vehicle is stranded en route to delivering goods, you can send assistance as soon as possible, since you are able to zero in on the precise location.

Provide real-time guidance when required

Distracted driving can happen due to many reasons – the driver might be in a hurry to get home, troubled due to personal issues, not feeling well/ tired, or worried about delivering shipments within tight deadlines. GPS trackers in Connected Fleet can be used to provide instructions to drivers in real-time, which helps to prevent accidents. Monitor and identify risky driving behaviour and effectively communicate real-time feedback when they are speeding, swerving, or braking too hard (signs of distracted driving). You can give them turn -by- turn directions, advice about upcoming traffic, weather conditions or obstacles to avoid accidents, etc. Video events of driving events can be captured so drivers can learn from their past mistakes.

Leave room for rest and breaks

Drivers of commercial vehicles are required to take certain breaks before they can continue driving. Apart from taking mandatory breaks, encourage drivers to prioritize their own safety, as well as the safety of other motorists on the road. They shouldn’t hesitate to take additional breaks en route if they feel tired, sleepy, or impaired in any way. Even though this might require extra time taken out of their “on-duty” period, it can play a significant role in reducing at-fault accidents due to distracted driving as the person behind the wheel was fatigued.

Create rewards programs

Rewarding and incentivizing drivers who adhere to safe driving habits is a crucial aspect of building a safety-first culture. One of the easiest ways to ensure safety in your fleet is through developing coaching and rewards programs. Incorporate dash cams into your fleet, so you can review real footage to guide drivers on how to improve safety on the road. Safety report cards and driver ratings should be maintained to get a clear insight into driving behaviour. You can identify areas for improvement and determine which drivers require additional training based on predictive analytics data generated by Connected Fleet software. This way you can understand if there is a problem with the entire fleet or just a few drivers. Keep tabs on your drivers’ safety progress – you can give them safety scores based on harsh events, miles driven, speeding, and more.

Today’s world is hyper-connected – anyone can become a distracted driver. A second’s delay in responding to road conditions can lead to drastic consequences! It is imperative for fleet managers and drivers to understand what causes distracted driving, know how to prevent this type of driving behaviour, and leverage the latest technologies like Connected Fleet to boost safe driving practices.

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