Everything is bigger in Texas, especially the highway and interstate system. As a result, fleet owners in the state are taking extra precaution when it comes to managing their fleets. With open road wellbeing in mind, here are just a few ways fleet owners are playing it safe in Texas.
Pay Close Attention to the Road
Texas is covered with thousands of miles of long, flat roads, and drivers are easily distracted in this type of environment. Fleet managers should stress the importance of paying close attention to the road ahead, especially when it comes to potential roadway hazards.
Whether it’s roadway debris, potholes or construction zones, there are plenty of hazards to watch out for while behind the wheel. When driving distracted, these obstacles are easily overlooked. Encourage your drivers to keep their mind on the road by focusing on their surroundings and reading all roadside signage—even if it’s just an exit sign.
Never Drive Tired
Fleet owners should always consider the energy levels of the drivers in their fleets. Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States. When fatigue takes over, driver response times significantly decrease, which creates unsafe driving conditions for both the fleet driver and others on the road.
Fleet owners can ensure their drivers are well rested, alert, and aware behind the wheel by giving each driver plenty of time off between shifts. If a fleet manager finds that some drivers on the team become exhausted more than others, it might be time to alternate driving routes, schedules, and shifts.
Be Aware of Speed Limit Changes
Speed limits change all the time, but Texas has some of the most drastic speed limit changes in the country. Many of the toll roads in the state have speed limits of 85 mph whereas the interstates and highways have speed limits that change between 70 and 75 mph. On top of that, many of the major cities decrease the speed limit between 55 and 65 mph upon entering city limits.
Although many drivers exceed the speed limit by 5 to 10 mph, faster speeds also increase braking distances and decrease reaction times, which is especially dangerous for truck drivers with large containers and heavy loads.
Enforce a No Texting Policy
Not only is texting while driving extremely dangerous (as well as looking at a phone’s apps, etc.), it’s also against the law. Fleet owners and managers in Texas and all across the country should enforce a strict no texting policy with their drivers. This should include no texting even while stopped at red lights and stop signs.
Hands-free calling and Bluetooth wireless technology should be installed in each fleet vehicle, so drivers can safely respond to calls. Likewise, fleet managers should ask drivers not to take any personal calls while behind the wheel.
Keep up With Regular Maintenance
Fleet ownership comes with plenty of responsibilities including keeping up with the maintenance of all the vehicles in the fleet. This includes everything from performing regularly scheduled oil changes and tire rotations to replacing power steering fluids and flushing the radiator as needed.
There are also daily and weekly maintenance responsibilities the fleet drivers themselves should be aware of. Drivers should check the tire pressure on their vehicles each morning, make sure blinkers and headlights are in working order and top off windshield wiper fluid on a weekly basis. Going through these maintenance steps will ensure safe driving for the long haul.
Use Extra Precaution in Severe Weather
Texas is known for its summer downpours as well as its icy driving conditions during the winter. Fleet owners should make sure each driver is comfortable driving in wet weather and other severe driving conditions.
Likewise, drivers should also follow safe driving protocol during severe weather events. This includes decreasing driving speeds, leaving plenty of room between vehicles, not using cruise control during rainy or icy conditions, and using emergency blinkers during low visibility driving.
When fleet owners promote responsible driving habits, roadways in Texas become that much safer as a result.