5 risky driving behaviors and their impact on your bottom line

September is safety month around the Derive offices and while we’ll be focusing on different areas of safety in fleet management, we figured we’d start with one of the most fundamental aspects of safety: Driving behaviors.

You spend a lot of time in driver coaching and invest in telematics to make sure that coaching is paying off when drivers are behind the wheel, but training and telematics can’t stop all risky driver habits, or stop road rage which seems to be contagious. Last year, in a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it was reported that 80% of respondents expressed significant anger or aggression behind the wheel at least once in 2017.

Why do we get so angry behind the wheel? Most of it boils down to psychology.

  • Territorial: Drivers feel entitled to their space and revenge if their space is cut into or taken over
  • Habitual: Drivers can be trained but in the long run, habits tend to win out and drivers who speed or tailgate in their own vehicles will do it in their work vehicle too
  • Unaware: Finally, a lot of drivers aren’t aware of the consequences of their aggressive driving or not afraid of the consequences

Avoid your drivers falling into bad driving habits this fall by reviewing these five risky driver behaviors and how they impact the whole fleet.

1. Rapid acceleration

Rapid acceleration wastes fuel and puts extra stress on the vehicle’s engine and transmission, thus upping maintenance costs or even needing to replace vehicles well before they need to be. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that harsh accelerations and harsh braking can lower gas mileage between 15-30% at highway speeds, meaning you’re paying more in fuel for the same mileage.

Coach drivers on slower starts, leaving enough room between them and the vehicle ahead to safely gain speed, and even turning it into a metric on their driver scorecard.

2. Speeding

According to the NHTSA, speeding accounts for 26% of all US traffic fatalities. Speeding is incredibly dangerous for both your driver and others on the road, and also takes its toll on the engine and uses more fuel than necessary.

Driving at 65 mph consumes up to 15% more fuel than driving 55 mph, which is only driving up your fuel costs and putting your drivers at risk of an accident, which could turn into a rate increase for insurance.

Most GPS tracking systems can set alerts for speeding events so you can closely monitor speed, or you could invest in speed limiters and take away the ability to speed from the vehicle itself.

3. Hard braking

Hard braking is most often a result of tailgating and can quickly cause brake damage and reduce their lifespan, making it more likely that vehicle will be involved in accident due to faulty parts. Hard braking also increases regular maintenance costs as well as downtime for the vehicle to be in the shop, meaning you’re paying for it twice.

Train drivers to keep at least three to five seconds in distance between them and the vehicle in front to give enough time for proper braking.

4. Distracted driving

Each day, distracted driving kills nine people and injures more than 1,000 (according to the NHTSA). A text is not worth your driver’s life or the life of someone they’re sharing the road with. Checking a phone reduces our reaction time

Enforce a no cellphone policy or equip your drivers’ phones with Distracted Driving Prevention (DDP™) software which locks them out of apps and receiving calls.

5. Not buckling in

It takes two seconds. That’s it. Two seconds to save lives, what better ROI is there than that? Seatbelt use keeps your drivers safe, can keep insurance premiums low, and lowers accident costs. Make sure drivers are buckled in with seatbelt compliance solutions where they can’t shift out of park until they’re strapped in.

Review these dangerous driving behaviors with your employees and reinforce how they go against your safety policies, the consequences that come with breaking them, and reinforce and reward good driver behavior to strengthen your fleet’s safety culture this September.

Another option to drive change in your fleet and overcome these risky driving behaviors is through Active Vehicle Management (AVM). With AVM you can put speed limiters on vehicles, reduce idle RPM and tailor shift points to improve fuel efficiency, stop distracted driving, and enforce seatbelt compliance. Contact us to learn more!