Do you rely on vehicles to keep your business thriving? Make sure your employees are putting safety first when hitting the road. Have them start by following these simple steps.
- Be alert. Focus on driving, and drop the distractions. Distracted driving goes beyond your cellphone and includes being tired, adjusting the radio, checking directions, talking to others and more. Encourage employees to always stay focused on the road.
- See clearly. Make sure all employees that get behind the wheel have an updated vision test. You’ll want them to see their best when driving for your business.
- Fuel up. The vehicle is not the only thing that needs fuel to make it through a long drive – make sure the driver has enough fuel to feel capable of the task at hand.
- Keep the wheels rolling. Check to make sure tires are in tip-top shape. This means they are properly inflated and have good tread for the safest driving in all conditions.
- Brake check. Being able to stop is crucial to safe driving. Make sure the brakes are routinely checked so they’re healthy enough to hit the road.
- Buckle up. Always wear a seatbelt – it’s the best line of defense in the face of the unexpected.
Create a Safe Driving Program
The simple safety steps listed above are a great start toward creating a safety-centric drive team. But you can do even more to be proactive about safety on the road. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has created some very useful guidelines for employers to reduce motor vehicle crashes (Opens in a new tab). One of their suggestions is to create a safe driving program for your employees. Let’s look at how you can do this by reviewing their 10-step program.
- Involvement. Get everyone involved in a safety culture to make it a priority. It’s not just important that the drivers know the rules of the road — all employees can benefit from participation.
- Written procedures. Establish written objectives, procedures and guidelines so there is never a doubt about what your company’s driving rules are and what is expected. OSHA recommends adding an alcohol and drug use policy as well as a seat belt policy.
- Driver agreements. Employees who drive for your business should sign an agreement that they understand and will abide by your procedures. It’s a great idea to have everyone who drives for you sign, whether they do it regularly or only once in a while.
- Motor vehicle record checks. This is your background check for drivers and it’s smart to do one before hiring a driver and then to check them annually to see if anything has changed. A violation limit is a good standard to have in your procedures. A written record of this leaves no gray areas.
- Accident reporting. All accidents should be reported. But if your employee is actually in an accident, it’s pretty easy for them to get flustered and forget what to do. Keeping instructions in the glove box, so they’re handy when needed, removes some of that unnecessary stress. Take your diligence a step further and review all incidents to see what the cause was and how it could possibly be prevented in the future. But remember not to lay blame – hey, accidents happen.
- The vehicles. Picking the right vehicle for the job and maintaining it is key to your success and the driver’s success on the road. This is why you’ll want to have a checklist for recommended car maintenance and keep your records from the shop. If your employees use their own vehicles, your policies for handling maintenance, reimbursement and car insurance should be spelled out, too.
- Disciplinary actions. No one wants to discipline an employee, but safe driving behavior is of primary concern. A progressive system of discipline based on driving infractions is a great way to encourage safer driving skills and determine where some work needs to be done.
- Rewards program. On the opposite side of the coin, a rewards system is a way for you to give your best drivers a pat on the back for their performance.
- Driver training. It’s always a good idea to brush up on those driving skills, no matter who the driver is. Providing continuous driver safety training and tips reinforces good habits.
- Regulatory compliance. The driver isn’t the only one who needs to stay on top of the rules of the road. Establish which local, state, and/or federal rules govern your drivers and your vehicles and stay on top of those regulations.
Your company’s most valuable investment is your staff. Promoting safe driving protects that investment. You can also protect your investments by having an annual auto insurance check-up with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to make sure you have all the coverage your drivers and vehicles need on the road.