Safe Driving Tips for Employees: Protecting Your People, Goods, and Reputation on the Road

There’s no way around it: Driving is easily one of the most dangerous daily activities for individuals in the US. An estimated 42,915 traffic fatalities occurred in 2021 alone, and research suggests that in 2019 the total costs associated with traffic collisions and crashes amounted to approximately $340 billion. But crashes and collisions don’t only affect drivers; they can also have a significant negative impact on your organization. When employees operate vehicles on company time, the risks of the road become threats to the business itself.

As such, safe-driving practices are an essential part of preparing your people to protect themselves and your organization while behind the wheel. Here, we explore how safe driving benefits business and share some safe-driving tips for employees who find themselves on the road for their company. 

Why Is It Important to Drive Safely?

A business case for safe driving can be summed up fairly easily: Accidents involving company vehicles are costly. In 2019 work-related crashes cost employers around $39 billion, averaging about $75,000 in expenses per non-fatal injury and $751,000 per fatality. 

But there’s an additional cost beyond the dollar amount: reputational damage. A company’s reputation can have a major impact on its bottom line, and if potential customers begin to connect the idea of traffic accidents to your brand, then they’ll be much more likely to want to take their business elsewhere. 

More directly, poor employee driving leads to increased insurance rates and places the safety and effectiveness of your equipment and products in jeopardy. And then there are the wider social issues — road delays, increased pressure on emergency response and medical personnel, increased pollution, etc. The burden of bad driving can be felt far and wide. 

8 Driving Safety Tips for Employees

There’s no economic barrier to better driving; whether your organization is a Fortune 500 enterprise or a new business operating out of a garage, you can make safe driving a priority by following these tried and true tips:

  1. Set detailed safety guidelines
    Before they ever turn the key in the ignition, your employees need to know that safe driving is something the company takes very seriously. You can promote this value by creating and sharing company driving-safety guidelines. These guidelines should go beyond simply telling employees to follow the rules of the road — reminding employees to always wear their seatbelts and to avoid going above the speed limit is helpful, but it doesn’t really provide much more than what they should have learned when they got their license.

    Instead, detail the additional expectations you have for them as representatives for your company while driving. This may include details about when it is and is not OK to use mobile devices, specifics about what qualifies a driver to use a company vehicle, steps for documenting driving expenses and changes to driving privileges, and other policies and processes. These guidelines must also establish accountability and clearly outline the penalties for failing to comply.
  1. Caution drivers to avoid medications that can impair driving
    When most people think about driving while intoxicated, alcohol is the first substance that comes to mind. But intoxication can mean more than just being ‘drunk.’ Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can have an impact on your awareness levels, dampening your cognitive ability and slowing your response time significantly.

    There are many different categories of drugs that can lead to impaired driving: allergy medication, antidepressants, anxiety medication, blood pressure drugs, pain-relief medications, and even various kinds of cough syrup. Keep your people informed so they know what not to take before they take to the road.
  2. Set limits on how many miles an employee may drive per day
    Sometimes we think about company driving in over-simplified terms, where more miles in less time means better returns. But pushing drivers beyond their limits doesn’t help anyone, and can lead to accidents, property damage, and injury. Instead of encouraging your drivers to push the envelope, create policies that set caps on the number of miles they should be traveling per day.

    As a general rule, it isn’t safe to drive for more than eight hours per day, which means that no driver should be expected to drive for more than about 500 miles a day. At the same time, drivers should be required to take regular breaks of at least 15 minutes for every two hours behind the wheel. 
  1. Train employees to avoid distractions while driving
    There are enough dangers associated with driving without bringing additional ones along for the ride. Distracted driving is a contributing factor in 80% of traffic collisions and about nine people die every day in crashes that involve a distracted driver. The good news is that distracted driving is 100% manageable, simply by training your drivers to recognize and avoid those distractions that can hamper their driving abilities.

    Mobile devices are a big contributor to distracted driving accidents, but they aren’t the only offenders. Eating food, having pets in the car, taking care of personal grooming tasks, and even listening to music can all prevent drivers from giving the road their full attention. Help your employees recognize and avoid these distractions. 
  1. Teach effective solutions for avoiding road rage
    Driving is incredibly stressful. The consistent demands of retaining a proper speed and correctly responding to the unexpected actions of other drivers, coupled with the feeling of being confined to a small space or stuck in slow traffic, along with potentially hundreds of other annoyances all add pressure to the pot. And when that pressure reaches unstable levels…

    Road rage leads to bad decisions, and can result in accidents and injury as drivers let their anger displace their good judgment. Employers can train their drivers to deal with stress by teaching them relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and visualization, as well as how to de-escalate road-rage incidents with other drivers. This approach can include role-playing exercises, scenario-based training, and discussions of real-world examples of road rage incidents. 
  1. Have employees plan their routes in advance
    Sometimes it’s the road itself that is the problem. Unexpected delays, road closures, and hazardous conditions all create unstable elements for the employee driver, increasing the risk of them being involved in a traffic accident. But with access to digital maps and real-time road and traffic data, your employees can minimize their chances of encountering these unexpected conditions.

    Before they start the engine, have your employees review their planned route, making course corrections and accounting for any detours or unsafe conditions that may be present along their path. By making route planning an integral part of the process you empower your employees with the foreknowledge to avoid many of the hazards that might otherwise lead to problems down the road. 
  1. Hire drivers with good safety track records
    Good driving can be taught. That said, it can be hard to overcome established habits, and drivers with a history of accidents or traffic violations may be more likely to be involved in collisions in the future. This can be especially problematic when you consider that as the employer you can be held liable for accidents caused by your employees while driving for work — possibly leading to legal and financial consequences. In many cases, conducting thorough background checks and prioritizing drivers with clean driving records may be the better option.

    Hiring drivers with good driving records can also help your organization maintain a positive reputation and build trust with customers and partners. Drivers with a history of safe driving are more likely to be reliable, responsible, and trustworthy. Therefore, hiring drivers with good driving records is not only a matter of safety but also a smart business decision that can have long-term benefits for your organization. 
  1. Monitor driver performance
    If your employees are driving company equipment, on company time, or while performing company tasks, then their driving performance is directly tied to their work performance. That means it should be monitored. Although tracking driver performance may not be as straightforward as monitoring other kinds of employee performance, there are a number of factors worth keeping an eye on, including driver citations, compliance with laws and policies, and adherence to planned routes.

    Again, tracking driving performance can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Consider installing IoT systems on your vehicles to record and relay relevant driver performance data. You can also schedule supervisors to ride along with drivers to conduct regular performance reviews. However you decide to do it, make sure that your employees know that their conduct while on the road is just as important as their performance as an employee.

Final Thoughts

Driving is a dangerous activity, but with the right approach, you can minimize that danger for your business. Establishing safe-driving practices can help you protect the people, products, and professional reputation that are the foundation of your business.

Of course, having the right safety standards is only part of the equation; you also need the right vehicles. Click here to view Flex Fleet Rental’s available options, and get a top-quality, cost-effective fleet that’s a match for your safety standards. Then, if you’re ready to get started, contact Flex Fleet Rental today!