A defensive driving program can help train government and public sector fleet drivers to be...

A defensive driving program can help train government and public sector fleet drivers to be safer while on the road.

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Driving is the riskiest thing many employees do. Whether they’re linemen at the electric department, picking up solid waste, or patching holes on the highway, they face the most risk while behind the wheel.

This is true regardless of their vehicle type or the fleet they work for as well. Non-CDL drivers face as much risk as a truck driver when it comes to accidents.

That’s why driver safety training is essential. Professional safe drivers drive defensively. And defensive driving simply means being prepared. They see and react to risk ahead of time. They stay away from everyone and everything that could cause them problems. Most importantly, they take responsibility for protecting the people on the road with them.

A defensive driving program can help train government and public sector fleet drivers to be safer while on the road. But, if that’s not an option, they can learn LLLC, or the four principles of driving safely. Check out these safe driving habits and tips

Breaking Down LLLC Driving

What, exactly, is the meaning of LLLC when it comes to driving safety best practices? LLLC stands for look ahead, look around, leave room, and communicate. These four principles encompass all safe driving techniques, and best of all, these safe driving tips are easy to memorize and teach.

1. Look Ahead

Drivers need to be prepared for what’s ahead of them. Your drivers need to look ahead with an eye-lead time of 15 seconds. This lets them see traffic slowing down, pedestrians, or changes in traffic flow or the speed limit before they become a problem.

2. Look Around

The information your drivers need to prevent accidents isn’t just happening ahead of them — it’s happening all around them. That’s why drivers need to look around.

Drivers should look around by changing their point of focus every 2 to 3 seconds and checking their mirrors every 5 to 8. This ensures that they take in their entire driving environment on the road ahead.

3. Leave Room

Look ahead and look around are all about seeing risk. Leave room is what you do with that information.

Leave room gives you the time and space you need to react to risk and avoid collisions. Drivers need to leave room on all six sides of their vehicle:

  • In front
  • Behind
  • To the left
  • To the right
  • Above
  • Below

The most important place to leave room is to the front. Drivers own that space in front of them. If they want to prevent accidents, they need to always leave room by maintaining a minimum safe following distance. For light-duty vehicles such as cars, light trucks, and vans, that’s 3 seconds in normal and dry conditions.

Leaving room in front of you is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself and others safe.

4. Communicate

The last principle is communicate. The first three principles are all about seeing what other people are doing and reacting to it. Driver communication is how you let other people know what you’re going to do.

Drivers need to communicate with their headlights, horn, turn signals, four-way flashes, and tail lights. They need to give at least 3 to 5 flashes of their turn signal before taking any action, such as when you need to change lanes. They need to use their brake lights to communicate to other drivers that they’re stopping. And they need to use their headlights in low visibility conditions so other drivers see them.

There’s no guarantee that the people in other vehicles are paying attention, but communicating gives you a chance to avoid any surprises.

Are Your Professional Drivers Safe Professional Drivers?

If your employees drive to complete job functions, they’re professional drivers. However, that doesn’t mean they’re safe. When you put employees out on the road, your organization faces liability. More importantly, employees face risk of injury and have lives in their hands.

Start the process of developing your fleet of safe professional drivers today by teaching them the basics of safety and LLLC: The Four Principles to Driving Safely. It could be the perfect driver and road safety topic for your next meetings! 

About the Author: John Kuder is a senior instructional designer at Avatar Fleet, the creators of the non-CDL safety training course, The Fleet Safety Course.