Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. As travelers head to beaches, lakes, cabins and resorts, roadways can be more congested than usual over the holiday weekend.
With more vehicles on the highway, get tips on how to keep your fleet drivers safe behind the wheel.
Avoid Distracted Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people were killed by distracted driving in 2016. To lower this statistic, all drivers should make sure they are giving their full attention to the road. This includes staying off cell phones and not texting and driving.
The NHTSA states: “Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
Distracted driving goes beyond texting and driving. It also includes eating, playing with the radio or other items on the dashboard, or any action that takes a driver’s attention away from the road.
To ensure drivers are practicing safe driving, fleets can monitor driver behaviors through telematics. GPS and telematics technology allow fleet managers to track when a driver is engaged in distracted driving, as well as speeding, braking suddenly, and other negative behaviors.
Keep a Safe Distance
When on a roadway, drivers should follow the 2-second rule – ensuring they are keeping a 2-second distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them. This creates a safe space to allow a vehicle to stop suddenly if the car in front of it slows down or comes to a stop. Larger vehicles should allow more time, as it will take the heavier trucks longer to come to a complete stop. Drivers should also give more space between vehicles during poor driving conditions, like wet roads.
Plan for Traffic
With more drivers on the road this holiday weekend there is likely to be more slowdowns and congestion. Drivers should plan to leave early and allot extra time to ensure a timely and safe arrival. If possible, drivers should avoid traveling through the peak rush-hour times. According to SmarterTravel.com, the best time to travel Memorial Day weekend is early Friday.
Drivers who end up in a traffic jam should exercise patience on the road and remember to follow safe driving techniques, such as signaling lane changes and allowing extra space to brake.
Watch for Construction Routes
One way to avoid some highway congestion is planning ahead to avoid construction zones. These areas often reduce the number of open lanes and require lower speeds, causing traffic to back up. GPS technology can reroute drivers around these areas. This will save time and fuel, making it more efficient for both the driver and the fleet.
Check Vehicle Maintenance Before Hitting the Road
To avoid any unexpected breakdowns, vehicles should be current on any needed maintenance before hitting the road. Keeping up with preventative maintenance will allow any potential issues to be resolved before leaving on a route.
Prepare for Hot Weather
As Memorial Day is the symbolic start of summer, high temperatures can be present over the holiday weekend. Drivers should exercise heat safety, making sure they are properly hydrated and carry extra water in their vehicle. Drivers should also keep the cabin cool by running the air conditioner and trying to park the vehicle away from direct sun when possible. Vehicles’ air conditioning and cooling systems should also be checked during preventative maintenance.
To see how RTA Fleet Management Software can help keep your fleet operation running smoothly, contact us today to schedule a free demo.