As a society, we’re all becoming more aware of mental health issues. Our culture is beginning to change in a way that means people are now willing to talk about their mental health. However, there’s still a long way to go.
We’ve talked before about how an EPOD system can offer a practical solution to reduce fleet driver stress, but what else should we be doing? What could the impact on our businesses be if we don’t take mental health issues seriously?
When you work in an office based job, you might get into your car a couple of times a day. A daily commute will probably involve a bit of traffic congestion and maybe the odd incident. Another driver who stops suddenly or a pedestrian who steps out in front of you. Occasionally you have the journey from hell because there’s been an accident. When you’re behind the wheel all day there’s a greater chance of facing a problem.
Mostly, your drivers will be able to cope with normal road conditions and the occasional problem. It’s part and parcel of the job. But if your drivers are struggling with stress, anxiety or other mental health issues, their capability decreases. They’re more likely to get tired, angry or just act hastily when they usually wouldn’t.
When your drivers are stressed their decision making is impaired. They might pull out into traffic when it isn’t safe or simply misjudge the conditions. Simply put, a stressed driver is a safety risk.
At its lowest level, their standard of driving could be affected. That could mean heavy braking or sharp acceleration that increases wear and tear on your vehicles and raises fuel costs. At the other end of the scale, distracted drivers get into more accidents. You could be faced with the costs of vehicle repairs or even an expensive personal injury claim.
We all want to make sure that deliveries get there on time. That can mean added pressure on drivers. Even a traffic jam can be stressful when you’re on a deadline. Some people cope well with long days on their own behind the wheel. That may be why they chose the job, but it can still get lonely over time.
Encourage your drivers to talk about the things that cause them stress. That can have a major impact but there are also practical steps you can take.
When you install a fleet telematics system, your business benefits from optimized routes. You can monitor your drivers’ progress and make them aware of any issues on the road ahead. That means that they don’t have the stress of being stuck in a traffic jam. You can also let customers know ahead of time if traffic problems are delaying their delivery. We all know how stressful it can be to be met by an irate customer when you’ve spent hours in a traffic queue!
A fleet tracking system also allows you to monitor driver performance. That might feel a bit like ‘Big Brother’ but it allows you to spot problems early. If a reliable driver suddenly starts driving erratically you can take steps to find out why.
If you’d like to find out more about how fleet tracking can improve your drivers’ mental health, get in touch.