When you have driving employees, you have to ensure they drive safely not only to avoid an accident and injuring themselves, but also injuring other drivers or pedestrians.

While your workers’ compensation insurance will cover an employee’s injuries, your commercial auto insurance would have to cover any claims for third party injuries. An accident can also result in lost productivity and possibly higher insurance rates. If someone is seriously injured or killed, your company can be sued for negligence.

Every time one of your employees gets behind the wheel, they should remember the importance of using defensive driving techniques. That’s why it’s important you train them properly.

Defensive driving can save lives. It means staying alert, avoiding distractions and being ready for anything — such as an erratic driver, bad weather, road hazards and slow-moving vehicles. It also means avoiding bad habits.

How your employees can be defensive drivers. They should avoid:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Tailgating
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • Moving in and out of traffic.

They should use these safe driving practices:

  • Being aware of blind spots.
  • Slowing down at all intersections.
  • Maintaining a safe following distance.
  • Minimizing all distractions.

Safety training tips

Teaching your employees about defensive driving not only lets them know it’s a priority for you, but also an expectation of their performance.

During your safety meeting, discuss the importance of using these defensive driving techniques:

  • Be aware of surroundings — Check mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead. Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists and pets along the road.
  • Pay attention — Avoid distractions such as eating and cell phone use.
  • Avoid aggressive driving — If another motorist shows signs of aggressive driving, don’t engage them. Instead, slow down or pull over to avoid that driver.
  • Get plenty of rest — Statistics show that when motorists don’t get enough sleep, they increase their chance of getting into an accident. Getting enough rest goes hand in hand with safe driving.
  • Don’t depend on other drivers — Don’t assume another driver is going to move out of the way. Plan movements to anticipate the worst-case scenario and remember to be considerate of other drivers
  • Follow the three-second rule — When the vehicle in front of you passes a certain point, count three full seconds. If you reach that same point in less than three seconds, you’re following too close.
  • Have an escape route — In all driving situations, the best way to avoid potential danger is to position the vehicle where it has the best chance of seeing and being seen by other drivers.
  • Always have an out —Try to have someplace to move your vehicle if the immediate path is suddenly blocked.

The takeaway

We cannot control what other drivers do, but we can control how we drive. Defensive driving techniques can help your employees reduce the chance of getting into a traffic accident and potentially hurting themselves or someone else.

Regularly remind your driving staff to be on the defensive when they get behind the wheel.

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