According to federal government statistics, a motor vehicle accident occurs in the U.S. every 5 seconds, an injury auto accident every 10 seconds, and a fatal traffic accident every 12 minutes. If one of your employees is involved in a work-related crash, your company faces potential liability. This includes costs related to vehicle damage, bodily injuries, or fatalities. It also includes lost productivity and higher insurance rates.

Every time one of your employees gets behind the wheel, they should remember the importance of using defensive driving techniques.

Remember, your employees represent your workplace every time they’re out in public as part of their job. This includes when they drive—they’re essentially moving billboards for the organization. Unsafe driving not only reflects poorly on them, it also reflects poorly on you.

What your employees need to know about defensive driving

Defensive driving includes staying alert, avoiding distractions, and preparing for erratic drivers, bad weather, road hazards, slow moving vehicles and other issues.

What your employees need to do to be a defensive driver

Avoid the following actions:

  • Road Rage/Aggressive driving
  • Tailgating
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving/Using mobile devices while driving
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Moving in and out of traffic

Use these safe driving practices:

  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Be aware of blind spots.
  • Slow down at all intersections.
  • Maintain a safe following distance.
  • Minimize all distractions.

What to cover at your safety meeting about defensive driving

Teaching your employees about defensive driving not only lets them know it’s a priority for you, but also an expectation of their job performance. During your safety meeting, discuss the importance of using these defensive driving techniques:

Be aware of your surroundings. Check mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead. Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets along the road.

Pay attention. Avoid distractions such as eating and using your mobile device.

Avoid road rage/aggressive driving. If another motorist shows signs of aggressive driving, don’t engage. Instead, slow down or pull over to avoid that driver.

Get plenty of rest. Statistics show that when motorists don’t get enough sleep, they increase their chance of getting into an accident.

Don’t depend on other drivers. Don’t assume another driver is going to move out of the way. Plan movements to anticipate the worst-case scenario and remember to be considerate of other drivers.

Follow the three-second rule. When the vehicle in front of you passes a certain point, count three full seconds. If you reach that same point in less than three seconds, you’re following too close.

Have an escape route. In all driving situations, the best way to avoid potential danger is to position your vehicle where it has the best chance of seeing and being seen by other drivers. Always have an out—someplace to move the vehicle if the immediate path is suddenly blocked.

Drive slower in poor weather conditions such as rain, fog, ice, snow, hail, or high winds. Inclement weather can make driving more difficult, especially in the winter months. Drivers may have trouble seeing the road clearly, have to navigate slick or icy roads, and encounter flooding.

We cannot control what other drivers do, but we can control how we drive. Defensive driving techniques can help your employees reduce the chance of getting into a traffic accident and hurting themselves or someone else.

Take the time to remind your employees: be on the defensive—not the offensive—when you get behind the wheel.