Distracted driving is something that we hear about a lot. According to an American Towman article, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) stated that there were 3,166 deaths in car crashes involving distracted driving in 2017. That’s a chilling statistic. But as someone with a tow truck business, how can you encourage your drivers not to drive distracted? Here are a few tips.
Tips to prevent distracted driving.
1. Define distracted driving.
While our minds immediately jump to texting and smartphones when we think distracted driving, there are more things than just phones that can cause problems. Distractions can take the eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel, or your attention away from driving. So, while talking or texting is indeed distracted driving, the umbrella term can also include things like eating, fiddling with the mirrors or radio, and even reaching for things.
A big problem is that people think they can split their attention to two things. But the reality is that when a quick reaction is required, the driver’s attention has to shift off the thing that distracted them and onto the road before they recognize the danger – and then they have to react. Unfortunately, our brains aren’t so great at multi-tasking. Driving requires the driver’s full attention.
2. Encourage drivers to be truly ready before hitting the road.
Your drivers should know to make sure they’re ready before they hit the road. The seat and mirrors should be properly adjusted, the volume of the radio should be set, and anything that could roll around in the cab of the truck should be put away so it won’t tempt the driver to reach over. Even doing a quick “readiness” check can minimize the chance of the driver facing a distraction when they set off.
3. Have strict rules about cell phone use.
You should have a strict policy the forbids drivers from using cell phones behind the wheel. They shouldn’t talk on the phone, even with hands-free features, and they shouldn’t be texting. Make sure your drivers know that they should never feel obligated to pick up the phone if they get a call, even in their personal car with their own phone, if it’s a work call – they should be comfortable just letting it go to voicemail and calling back when they’re able to safely do so.
3. Let your drivers have time to eat.
Lunchtime should not be behind the wheel of the tow truck. Make sure that your drivers have adequate time to get themselves the food they need – meals or snacks – to keep themselves going during the day. Even eating can prove to be a big distraction. No one should feel like the only time they can grab lunch is when they’re driving.
4. Let them know that it’s okay to pull over.
If something comes up that requires the driver’s immediate and urgent attention, they should pull over to take care of it. Let people know that you’d rather they do the safe thing and get off the road rather than put themselves and other drivers at risk by being distracted.
5. Emphasize safety – and lead by example.
If you’re a leader at your tow truck business, you’re the person people are looking to. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, and that means keeping your full attention on the road when you drive. It’s important that you set a good example.
6. Remind drivers to take care when they’re approaching their destination.
Finding disabled cars on the side of the road or even addresses that you’re not familiar with can be challenging, but all of your drivers need to keep their attention on the road. Oftentimes we get so focused on scanning the scene for what we’re looking for that we forget that there are other cars on the road…even in front of the tow truck. Anyways – just a reminder to be cautious even when you’re approaching your destination and you’re fixated on your goal.
Those are just a few reminders you can share with the team at your tow truck business to help encourage safety and outline your expectations about distracted driving. Of course, you can’t be in the truck with your drivers all the time, but you can create a workplace environment where safe driving is a major priority.
It’s also really important to have the right tow truck insurance to protect your business. Get started with your insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat. Our tow truck insurance professionals would be happy to help you get insurance for your tow truck business.
Abejuela, Terry. “Put an End to Distracted Driving.” American
Towman, Dec. 2019, pp. 14 – 18.