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 damage, 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 you 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 can save lives. It means staying alert, avoiding distractions, and being ready for anything—such as an erratic driver, bad weather, road hazards, slow moving vehicles, and other issues. It also means avoiding bad habits.

What your employees need to do to be a defensive driver

Avoid the following actions:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Tailgating
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • Moving in and out of traffic

Use these safe driving practices:

  • Being aware of blind spots.
  • Slowing down at all intersections.
  • Maintaining a safe following distance.
  • Minimizing 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 performance. During your safety meeting, discuss the importance of using these defensive driving techniques:

  • Be aware of 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 cell phone use.
  • Avoid aggressive driving. If another motorist shows signs of aggressive driving, don’t engage them—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. Getting enough rest goes hand-in-hand with safe driving.
  • 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 the 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.

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 potentially 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.