When a vehicle is in motion, there is a lot of energy in its momentum. If that vehicle collides with a solid stationary object or one travelling in the opposite direction, that energy damages or destroys the bodywork of the vehicle and whatever it hits.

Crumple zones and impact surfaces are designed to absorb and distribute that energy to minimise the effects on drivers and passengers.

The contents of the vehicle also have momentum energy. The driver’s or passenger’s body is restrained by the seatbelt, and the head is cushioned by an airbag to slow it and absorb that energy gently and progressively, thereby minimising injury.

Think about what happens to a load carried inside a vehicle. In a 30mph collision the vehicle stops rapidly. If not properly secured the load will still be travelling at 30mph, until something stops it. That could be the vehicle’s occupants if they are in the line of travel.

Business drivers get used to piling what they need into the vehicle with little thought as to what might happen in a collision. They should be trained to think about what is carried, whether or not it is within the weight capacity of the vehicle and how it should be restrained to stay safe in the event of a crash.

All the contents of a van or small truck should be properly secured and even the orientation of objects should be considered. A heavy toolbox placed with the narrow end towards the front of the vehicle, concentrates its energy over a smaller area in a crash and thus has a more destructive force than the same box stowed across the vehicle.

Before Cardinus trainers deliver any on-road driver training they are required to ensure that the vehicle is legally safe to drive from a maintenance point of view and that the load carried inside it is safe and legal. Factoring load awareness and safety into your driver training can help to make sure your vehicles and drivers are safer when they leave your premises.

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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