Safety is one of the most important aspects of any job.
And while those who work in an office may seem to be at risk of little more than paper cut, for those who spend their days on the road, the consequences of even a momentary lapse in judgement can be severe.
Much of what you do involves being a positive representative of the store, but it is important to think of yourself as a Professional Driver.
As a professional driver, your first job is to keep yourself and those around you safe. You are in command of your vehicle and the situation around you.
Here are six keys to focus on when you’re driving:
1—Look down the road
It’s easy to have your visual targets drop to that area just in front of your vehicle, but this leaves you little time to react when something happens in front of you. Your eyes should be looking well down the road. Focus on vehicles, pedestrians, and road conditions; billboards and the like can attract your eye, but should not be your focus. It should go without saying that you should not be looking at your smart phone or other items—delivery lists or orders- in your car while you’re rolling down the road.
Don’t just stare straight ahead. Your eyes should be scanning across the windshield and to your mirrors continually. Don’t let them rest on any spot for more than 2 seconds. You should know what’s around your vehicle at all times so you can be aware when a situation is developing, like a distracted driver, or a pedestrian stepping out into traffic.
3—Keep your distance
Following closely not only cuts down your time to react, it cuts down your ability to see what’s happening in the road ahead. Cutting down the angle is great if you’re a goalie, not so much if you’re driving.
4—Have a way out
It’s not always easy when traffic is heavy, but when it’s flowing, you should always position your vehicle so it has somewhere to go if you have to make an evasive maneuver. Avoid letting yourself get boxed in by other vehicles.
5—See and be seen
You may see the other drivers, but do they see you? This is particularly important when you’re pulling back onto the roadway after a delivery. Watch for cues that you’ve been seen so you can join traffic safely.
6—Know what to do when things go wrong
A professional driver also knows what to do when things go wrong. Ask your management what their reporting procedure is on collisions and collisions when you’re carrying products classified as Dangerous Goods (batteries, chemicals, etc.).
Ensure you have any reporting phone numbers in the vehicle in case of spills. And of course, if someone is hurt in a collision and requires medical attention, call 911 first (or your equivalent emergency number), even if you are at fault.