My Top 10 Driving Tips For Safer Fleet Operations

Jim Luff
Posted on April 8, 2015
One of the topics I'm most passionate about as an operator is safety and training. I don't think you can remind your chauffeurs and drivers enough about the need to adhere to basics. Here are 10 common sense tips for chauffeurs and all commercial drivers. I suggest you post them in your employee breakrooms and lounges:

Never drive on only a few hours of sleep!: While you might be trying to do a dispatcher a favor by taking an assignment or earn a few extra dollars, the risk to yourself and your passengers is not worth it. If you have not had adequate sleep, inform the dispatcher. If you have an early morning assignment, you have an obligation to your passengers to go to bed early and be fully prepared for the assignment.  

Always report unsafe driving practices by other company drivers: No one wants to be a “snitch” but our business is a business that demands passenger safety be a top priority. Unsafe drivers give your company a bad name.  They raise the risk of a major accident or incident occurring that could shut a company down.

Use your mirrors: It's important to make sure that your mirrors are adjusted properly BEFORE you start driving. The vehicles we drive are usually large and have many blind spots. Refuse to drive a vehicle with broken mirrors. The risk is too great.  
 
Don't weave in and out of lanes: Every time you change lanes, you create a potential accident.  If you missed an off-ramp and have to take the next, it may add a few more minutes to the trip but swerving across lanes is not worth the risk.  
 
Never backup large vehicles without a spotter: Driving backwards is always dangerous even in broad daylight since you can’t see what is directly behind you.
 
Avoid situations requiring a backing maneuver: Never turn into a cul-de-sac or parking lot that requires you to back out.  Backing out onto a public street or highway is extremely dangerous.
 
Never drive a vehicle if you see liquid on the inside of a tire: This condition indicates a blown brake caliper seal. Braking ability is greatly reduced under this condition. Even though your brakes will still work, you will have one half of the system working.

Don't allow anyone to stick their head out of a vehicle: Passengers may attempt to stick their head out of a moon roof, an emergency exit or even a window. This is a very dangerous practice and many passengers have been killed doing this in livery vehicles.
 
Never accelerate quickly after dropping off a passenger: They may have dropped something and go back to pick it up and you will crush them. Make sure all passengers have cleared your vehicle path. Accelerate slowly and continue slowly for several feet, then gradually accelerate.
 
Never allow a passenger to bully you into doing unsafe things: You know the capabilities of your driving and your vehicle. Don’t attempt to enter drive-thru restaurants or travel down any street, alley or path that you know would be risky.

Related Topics: chauffeur behavior, chauffeur training, driver behavior, driver safety, driver training, driving, Jim Luff, Safety, Shop Talk blog

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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