Tips to Combat Distractions to Keep Drivers Focused

Distracted driving is a huge problem for commercial drivers and the motoring public alike. One of the most aggravating aspects of these accidents is they are 100 percent avoidable. With more people on the roads and more distractions than ever (i.e. cell phones, GPS devices, radios, drowsiness, etc.), it is unsurprising that the accident rate continues to creep ever higher.

Common Hazardous Behaviors Putting Drivers at Risk

The National Safety Council dedicates itself to eliminating preventable deaths such as those caused by distracted driving accidents. In this pursuit, they have studied driver behaviors and determined several actions drivers perform on a regular basis that increases the likelihood of an accident. For example:

  • 71 percent of drivers believe having up to three drinks does not impair their driving
  • 47 percent of drivers believe it is harmless to send texts by hand or voice command
  • 45 percent of drivers’ employers pressure them to check their email while driving—unsurprisingly, 44 percent of respondents reported they were involved in an accident while traveling to or for work
  • 35 percent of teenage drivers believe it is ok to check social media while driving—17 percent of teenagers also believe such distractions may have factored into an accident
  • 33 percent of drivers believe they can operate a vehicle safely with less than four hours of sleep

Driver Best Practices to Improve Safety

An effective way for drivers to stay alert and aware of their surroundings is to play the “what if?” game. It works by asking themselves questions about their environment. “What if that vehicle changes lanes without signaling?” or “What if those logs come loose and roll off the truck ahead?” It forces the driver to focus and prepares them to respond to roadway hazards.

Video coaching is another effective method to improve driver safety. While many fleet managers believe installing video cameras is enough to encourage safe driving practices, it will fail without proper coaching. Some drivers are unaware that they are making risky decisions. By reviewing video footage together and using it a training tool, drivers can learn from each other’s mistakes as well as each other’s good habits. Some fleets even incorporate an element of competition by keeping safety scorecards.

Other tips to combat distracted driving include:

  • Have drivers set their GPS destination before driving.
  • Use mounted GPS devices so drivers can keep their hands on the wheel.
  • Practice safe driving habits in the office as well as in the driver’s seat. For example, do not tell drivers to stay off their phones while driving just to have a dispatcher call them while they are on the road.
  • Stress that drivers should take breaks when needed.

By following the above safety recommendations and abstaining from risky driving behaviors, fleets can make major strides toward reducing their transportation risk. To learn more about transportation safety, contact the experts at Envirun.