Even for the most diligent fleet manager, it’s hard to keep tabs on everything that poses a risk to the company fleet. Get everything ‘right’ and you can still find yourself awakened by late-night road incidents, only to deal with the costs and admin from vehicle downtime, liabilities, third-party negotiations and driver or customer injuries.
So it makes sense to avoid these issues whenever you can. Surprisingly, one big way to make a difference is to address your fleet policies for driving at dusk and at dawn.
Because driving gets riskier right around sunset and sunrise hours, when glare and shadows are part of the picture, it’s very important to establish rules for your drivers at those times. In this blog, we’ll share five driver tips for safe fleet operations when dusk and dawn driving is required, and how First Rescue can be of help.
Check the condition of vehicle headlights
On the road, headlights not only help drivers see, but they're also a very important driver-to-driver signal. Needless to say, they should always be in good shape.
First, ensure that all fleet vehicle headlights and taillights are working and responding appropriately. They should stay polished and clean so they cast a clear beam at all times.
Second, drivers should use the headlights whenever they’re behind the wheel. Instead of relying on manual controls for headlights, automatic controls should always be used to make certain they are on.
High beams can blind oncoming drivers, so fleet operators should avoid using them unless conditions make it absolutely necessary.
Avoid driving when fatigued or drowsy
Tiredness can cause driving impairment in ways similar to alcohol consumption. It’s even more of a problem at dusk, when drivers are winding down for the evening, and at dawn, when drivers may not yet be fully alert.
If possible, avoid planning routes that extend into dusk or start before dawn. For those drivers who report serious issues with sleepiness in the very early or late hours, strongly consider not scheduling trips at those times.
Know how to stay alert
Drowsiness on the road is a huge accident risk and must be avoided among your fleet drivers. A necessary skill is the ability to keep themselves awake, upon awareness of tired feelings.
You should emphasise the importance of a full night’s rest, and instruct drivers to act when they notice their own drowsiness — for example, when they’re having trouble staying in one lane, or maintaining a constant speed. To increase wakefulness, drivers should pull over and stretch, stop at the nearest rest stop, open a window, or drink coffee.
Fleet drivers should also be aware of the signs of drowsiness in other motorists such as swerving lane to lane, and drive defensively as a result.
Stay aware of hard-to-see pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals
After the sun has gone down for the evening, or before it’s fully out in the morning, walkers and bikers can be quite difficult to see.
To make up for this, drivers should exercise caution when driving in or near residential neighbourhoods, schools, or other areas with high foot traffic. It’s especially important to slow down in the presence of bicyclists.
In rural areas, drivers need to stay on the lookout for wildlife, whether large or small. Avoiding surprises and sudden manoeuvres is key.
When driving after dark, night-vision goggles are important to consider. They’re an economical way to see much better in the dark, and the reduction of late-night accident risk is well worth it.
Reduce speed and distractions whenever possible
With reduced visibility, drivers must compensate by reducing speed and avoiding even minor distractions.
Slowing down just a little at dusk or dawn gives drivers more time to think and react to hazards and other motorists, a critical advantage when sight is compromised. It also provides more room to move over or take a detour, if trouble is spotted ahead.
Eliminating distractions is just as crucial. Fleet drivers should not eat or drink behind the wheel, fiddle with a radio or mobile phone. Even these seemingly small diversions can take a driver’s attention off of the road...a perfect setup for an accident.
During dusk and dawn, road risks increase, and your drivers need to be prepared. Don’t get caught out because you failed to factor time of day into your company’s fleet risk profile.
With First Rescues’ suite of fleet risk management services, your drivers can be properly educated on the special hazards of nighttime and early morning driving. We can help you ensure driving rules are firmly in place, and your drivers are held accountable for following them.
The ultimate result of working with us? Your fleet benefits from fewer incidents, fewer costs, and lower overall risk.