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Warning over “added risk” as drivers return to the road

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Let’s be honest, the roads have been a dream during lockdown. With such little traffic on the road, it’s never been easier to reach your drop-offs on time – perhaps even ahead of time.

But things are starting to return to something like normality now and with it brings an added risk, says Tony Greenidge, IAM RoadSmart interim CEO.

Speaking to Fleet World, he highlights the key issues that need to be addressed as more people return to the workplace and to the road.

You might’ve been a bit lax on planning your route in the past couple of months, knowing that it’s unlikely you’re going to be held up anywhere. It’s time to plan your journeys meticulously again, suggests Greenidge, who points out that the official advice is to avoid using public transport wherever possible, which may result in more cars on the road.

“At the same time,” he adds, “with the introduction of pop-up cycle lanes and other Government initiatives to promote walking and cycling, routes may have changed, so journey planning in advance of every trip – no matter how familiar – will be critical for commercial drivers, to minimise risk of delays and ensure they get to their destination as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Meanwhile, while acknowledging that these are testing times for businesses – including those in the transport & logistics sector – Greenidge said that reducing spend on vehicle maintenance checks “is simply a false economy”.

“Not only could fuel efficiency be adversely affected, but the risk of much more significant outlays in the future, should the worst happen, is very real and should not be underestimated,” he stressed.

Finally, he urges fleet managers to prioritise drivers’ mental health and wellbeing, with many truckers having worked long and gruelling hours throughout the entirety of lockdown.

If drivers’ mental health isn’t properly considered, there’s a real risk of them going on sick leave or – even worse – being involved in collisions due to a lack of focus, Greenidge said.

Sage words from the road safety expert. While we’re all being urged to “stay alert” right now, it’s a message that should never be forgotten when behind the wheel of an HGV. 

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