If your drivers spend a good chunk of time in neighborhoods making deliveries, house calls and more, there are two important stats they should always keep top of mind. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration,
- One in five crashes occur within a one-mile radius of the driver’s residence
- 52% of crashes occur within a five-mile radius
The biggest residential driving danger
The biggest danger in a neighborhood are not the transient drivers coming in and out but instead the people who live there. When drivers are in a familiar environment, they go on “auto-pilot.” They’ve driven their own neighborhood a million times, so they’re physically behind the wheel but their mental focus is occupied elsewhere.
These inattentive drivers move like zombies! They feel comfortable driving due to the familiarity of the area but are doing so with very little brainpower. Worse, because these drivers feel comfortable in their own neighborhood and feel as if they recognize all hazards at hand, they often drive faster!
Distracted driving from residents is just one of several hazards awaiting your company’s drivers in residential areas. Do you feel as if your drivers have the skills and knowledge needed to safely navigate local neighborhoods?
While this may seem as if it’s an easy skillset, we’re here to tell you it’s quite the opposite.
The dangers of driving the last mile
If your company’s drivers partake in many final mile deliveries or if your drivers frequently visit customers’ homes to conduct services offered by your business, you need delivery driver safety training specifically around defensive driving.
Defensive driver training can significantly reduce collision-related expenses and reputation-ruining neighborhood incidents. That said, enrolling drivers in any old training isn’t enough to prevent your company’s good name from showing up in a rant about reckless driver behavior in a branded vehicle on social media.
An average defensive driving program reminds drivers to slow down and keep their head on a swivel. While that’s good advice, an effective defensive driving course tells drivers what to look out for and how to drive strategically.
For example, when one of your company’s drivers see a vehicle driving slowly, the person behind the wheel may be lost. A company driver should be prepared to do any of the following:
- If the vehicle is coming towards them, your company driver should be prepared for the driver in the other vehicle to drift into the middle of the road to get a better look at house numbers.
- If your company’s driver is following the slow vehicle, expect the other driver on the road to stop suddenly or make a three-point turn. In other words, tell your drivers to give others on the road plenty of space and remain patient.
Delivery Driver Safety Tips for Your Fleet
Create a pre-trip checklist to be used before your drivers hit the road
Be proactive. If your drivers make house calls – no matter the industry, including plumbers, electricians, framers, pest control and more – a quick chat with the customer can prevent problems and delays.
Create a checklist of questions your drivers should ask when setting up the appointment, such as:
- Where is a good place to park?
- Do I need a gate code?
- What landmarks can help me easily locate your home?
- If your company utilizes taller vehicles, such as box trucks, ask about clearance issues such as low-hanging trees.
Common neighborhood driving hazards
Comprehensive training is integral to ensure the utmost safety of your company’s drivers, even in the most unsuspecting places, like residential neighborhoods. The benefits of driver training are unmatched and can adequately prepare your drivers for any event, including common hazards such as:
- Hidden driveways
- Obscured street signs
- Construction and school zones
- Driving at night
- Vehicles blocking the road
- Distracted drivers and pedestrians
- Kids or pets darting into the roadway
Are you sold on driver training to protect your drivers but aren’t sure where to get started? Download our guide and learn about the six questions companies like yours should be asking when looking to implement driver training technology.