Safer driving styles that look out for both drivers and cargo safety are key to reducing risk. They can be implemented in your training and safety programmes for continuous improvement on driving behaviour. Continue reading to learn some of the best tips to improve driving behaviour and reduce risks for both drivers and transported goods.

1) defensive driving.

The main aim of defensive driving is to use foresight and anticipation when driving. The aim is to try to stay alert whilst driving and not to make evasive or risky manoeuvres. Here are some of the main ways in which a driver can practice defensive driving.

1. Safe following distance:

When driving on the road, it is important to maintain a safe distance between vehicles to allow for a safe reaction time. This refers to the time between a driver seeing an obstacle and when they react to it. This distance varies according to the vehicle type and the road on which it is travelling. 

For example, in the case of heavy goods vehicles (vehicles with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes, or exceeding 10 metres in length), they are obliged to maintain at least 50 metres of separation from the vehicle in front. This distance would be adequate for the driver to be able to brake or slow down in time. This 50-metre distance would have to be even greater if the vehicle is travelling on a single-lane road in each direction.

2. Reaction time:

As mentioned above, reaction time is the time from the moment the driver sees an obstacle to the moment they react to it. This time can vary between 0.7 and 1.8 seconds depending on whether the driver is fully fit or not.

Drivers are therefore advised to apply the 3 to 4 second rule, which involves taking a distance of between 3 to 4 seconds from the vehicle being in front.

3. Blind spots:

A blind spot is an area of the vehicle that cannot be seen by the driver from the mirrors. For drivers of long vehicles, it can be difficult to see other vehicles behind and to the side. Therefore, always make sure to check over your shoulder or out of the window at times when the mirrors are not sufficient. Always remember to keep the right distance to be able to react in time to any unforeseen event.

4. Signal manoeuvres:

It is important to always signal the manoeuvre you are going to perform in an appropriate manner, either through the use of the different lights, indicators or by slowing down. By doing this, other drivers on the road will also be able to react in time.

2) weather-related driving.

Many drivers do not know how to react and adapt to sudden changes in the weather. Seventy per cent of accidents on rainy days occur in the first half hour of rain. It is therefore important for drivers to be trained and prepared, so that they have the necessary knowledge to adapt to the different situations they may encounter on the road.

It is important to be aware of the potential dangers that may occur so that you can anticipate the manoeuvres you might have to make. Always take into account factors such as road adherence, braking distance that may lengthen, visibility that worsens vision, as well as the ability to manoeuvre and what speed is best in each weather condition in order to avoid accidents.

3) Maintenance.

An important factor in preventing road accidents is that vehicles are kept up to date with maintenance. Fleet management systems are an indispensable tool that help both drivers and managers to know when the vehicle needs to be serviced. These systems collect odometer data, engine data and warnings in case there is a breakdown in the various vehicles that make up the fleet.

Managing this data can help create a fleet maintenance system based on mileage, breakdown history, tyre condition and more. Through regular maintenance, vehicles will be in excellent condition and drivers will not have to deal with breakdowns in the middle of the road.

Michelin's fleet management solutions are designed to help you improve processes such as preventive maintenance, create training plans, reduce accidents and improve the well-being of your drivers through driver behaviour monitoring systems. If you would like to know more about how we can help you improve productivity and profitability, please contact us.