We’ve all seen them: the drivers who fly past us given the tightest gap, only to be sitting almost alongside us at the next roundabout or traffic lights. The really annoying thing is when we realise that driver is a fellow employee, driving one of our company cars.

There is no doubt that this ‘spirited’ driving results in far greater driver fatigue and the cost of additional wear and tear is never worth the time he or she thinks might be saved. Harsh acceleration and firm braking accentuates the rate of tyre wear; fast cornering also takes miles from tyre life as the rubber compound tries to fight momentum. And with a ‘cut and thrust’ style of driving it only takes a moment’s inattention or a slight mistake by another driver close by for us to see another impact.

If the vehicle is subject to ‘condition-based servicing’, as is becoming more common today, the local dealers will thank you for the increased business that your driver brings – manufacturers have recognised the need for more frequent scrutiny of vehicles driven in this way to watch for accelerated component wear to protect driver and owner.

It should come as no surprise that excessive fuel use, abnormal tyre/brake wear and more-than-average ‘not-my-fault’ collisions often go hand-in-hand. If this relates to a van driver an added outcome is the van’s contents thrown around in the back. Somebody driving with a ‘rush’ mentality may also explain why hurried observations during reversing results in numerous minor manoeuvring collisions.

Manufacturers spend millions of pounds on advanced vehicle development to satisfy desires for cleaner, greener and more frugal vehicles – only to have it all compromised by inappropriate driving styles that they confirm will result in fuel consumption figures 30-40 per cent below what is possible. I’m reminded of one manufacturer’s slogan many years ago of ‘Everything we do is driven by you’ – which certain mischievous engineers corrupted to ‘everything we do is wrecked by you!’ Not far from the truth in some cases.

In any other field of work ‘continuing professional development’ is normal so why should driving be any different? The professional pilot taking us on holiday must undertake additional training hours to update his ‘type rating’ before flying a different model of aircraft, for example. Having invested heavily in the latest and best vehicle, we should also invest in our drivers similarly.

Cardinus can provide online driver training and risk assessment or one-to-one in-vehicle driver training. For details call 020 7469 0200 or email [email protected]

You can now also assess your fleet risk free-of-charge with our quick and easy to use online Fleet Audit which provides guidance on the management of employees who drive on company business, and the vehicles they drive. It covers all aspects of fleet risk management and may include areas of risk you haven’t considered.

For free access to the Fleet Audit click here

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