Driving tests

Online driver safety course

How do you improve the safety of your employee drivers? There are six main areas you can improve driver safety:

  1. Reducing distractions
  2. Improving driver health and fitness
  3. Eliminating drug and alcohol usage
  4. Improving awareness of dangers so that drivers drive to the conditions
  5. Purchasing safer and more capable vehicles
  6. Reducing exposure

Multi-choice quizzes are included in our owner driver and company/fleet driver accounts for the first four – click here to create an account.

A vehicle purchase checklist (along with other important documents such as a safe driving policy and daily vehicle inspection checklist) are also included with every owner driver or company/fleet driver account – check them out here.

Reducing distractions

Distractions come in all sorts of guises: from eating (which increases the accident risk by almost two times) to dialling a mobile phone (which increases the accident risk 12.2 times). Drivers become desensitized to the risk because they do it multiple times with no adverse results. Other common risk-taking activities while driving include eating, adjusting the satellite navigation, reaching for something in the glove box, reading text messages, and driving while tired.

Make sure your safe driving policy covers these, and ensure that you and your drivers take the fleet safety questions.

Improving driver health and fitness

A driver’s diet, amount of sleep and overall fitness affects concentration and ability to cope with stress. Drivers should not drive hungry or dehydrated.

Eliminating drug and alcohol usage

drink driving

The legal blood alcohol limit for driving in NZ is 0.05, but accident rates are still elevated even when under the legal limit

Driving after drinking can increase your accident risk more than 30 times. Companies should have clear policies for being alcohol- and drug-free when driving.

Hazard awareness

Depending on who taught the driver to drive, their abilities to detect hazards will vary wildly. As it’s still possible to pass a test in New Zealand without ever having a lesson from a driving instructor, drivers can often get their licence while carry poor habits from the friend or relative that instructed them.

Hazard awareness means that drivers are more likely to drive to the conditions, choosing safe speeds, safe lines and safe following distances. They are more equipped to be able to react appropriately if a situation turns dangerous.

The result is not just a reduction in crashes, but also more economical driving and less wear and tear on the vehicle as this type of driving tends to be more considered and easier on the vehicle.

Purchasing safer and more capable vehicles

All new vehicles come with electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes, but there are even more features available on vehicles now that are semi-autonomous. These include systems that automatically brake to avoid a collision, that warn if other road users are in a blind spot, and notify a driver if they are getting drowsy.

You can download our comprehensive vehicle purchase checklist if you have an owner driver or company/fleet account.

Reducing exposure

If an employee can walk or take public transport to a meeting, this is preferable. If the meeting can be conducted on the phone or using video conferencing, this is even better. Drivers should not be forced to drive when the weather is severe.

The less driving that your employees do, the less risk there is of them having an accident.

driver training

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

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Posted in Advice, Fleet