General Information

5 Bad Habits Your Fleet Drivers Should Avoid

By January 3, 2022No Comments

Bad driving habits among your fleet drivers might be costing you more than you realize.

Here are the five most common bad habits among fleet drivers, and what you can do to correct these costly, dangerous issues:

1) Driving While Distracted

Distracted driving kills over 3,000 Americans each year, and with annual accident rates among commercial fleets hovering around 20%, it’s clear that mobile device use is a huge problem among fleet drivers.

Not only does the typical fleet driver log twice as many miles as the average driver does, but drivers who are “on the clock” often feel compelled to multitask while they’re operating a vehicle — that multitasking mindset of fleet drivers needs to change.

2) “Jackrabbit” Starts and Hard Stops

Hard starts and stops drive up fuel consumption and increase maintenance costs. Worse yet, sudden acceleration and deceleration are frequently the cause of crashes at intersections involving not only other vehicles but pedestrians as well.

Fleet drivers should be taught to always accelerate and brake in a smooth, controlled manner. Eliminating “jackrabbit” starts and stops will help reduce fuel and maintenance costs while improving the safety of your fleet.

3) Speeding

Fleet drivers often feel compelled to speed to hit deadlines, make their deliveries and squeeze in an extra service call. Given how common, and dangerous, speeding is, it’s easy to see why speeding is the second most common cause of crashes among fleet drivers (just behind distracted driving).

Fleet managers need to set safe speed maximums for their drivers and consider installing speed governors to enforce those maximums.

4) Tailgating

Rear-end collisions account for nearly half of all vehicle crashes in the U.S., and in the vast majority of cases, tailgating drivers were at fault.

The good news is that rear-end crashes are largely preventable — drivers simply need to stop tailgating.

While expert opinions on safe following distances vary, in general, it’s recommended that drivers allow at least one car length for every 10 mph of speed they’re driving at. For example, a fleet driver traveling at 30 mph should allow at least three car lengths between their front bumper, and the rear bumper of the vehicle they are following.

5) Letting a Vehicle “Warm Up” While Idling

Modern internal combustion engines and idling don’t mix, especially when the mercury drops.

Idling injects fuel, a powerful solvent, into the engine’s combustion chamber. The solvent action breaks down the lubricating oils in the engine cylinders, leading to high repair costs and shortening the life of your fleet vehicles.

So unless you’re running a fleet of 50-year-old vans and trucks equipped with carbureted engines, your drivers shouldn’t be letting your vehicles idle for more than 30 seconds — even during the winter months.

Curb Costly Fleet Driver Habits With Smart Fleet

At Smart Fleet, our team of small fleet specialists can help you reduce your fleet maintenance costs and extend the life of your company vehicles. Contact us today to learn how to put our driver monitoring, coaching, and rehabilitation solutions to work for your business.