Driving at Work

Driving is the most dangerous activity that most of us carry out in our daily lives

Driving is the most dangerous activity that most of us carry out in our daily lives

Around 3,400 people are killed and more than 44,500 seriously injured in accidents on UK roads. It is estimated that approximately 30% of these involve “at work” drivers and as many as 1,000 people die every year occupational accidents on our roads compared with under 350 in other work related accidents.

Health and Safety law applies as much to driving for work activities as to all other work related activities. Your employer has duty to ensure you are not compelled to break the law whilst driving and you, as an employee, have a legal duty to drive within the law.

For your safety and that of other road users, make sure you know your company road safety policy.

The most dangerous part of any job is driving

There are lots of things that your employer can do to reduce the risks associated with driving for work, but there are also many things that you can do too. Here is a list of ten daily check points for you to consider and act upon.

  1. Road Conditions – Over-taking when you do not have a clear view and driving too close is dangerous particularly in bad weather. Count the seconds between you and the car in front! It should be at least 2 seconds in good weather and double that in bad weather.
  1. Eyesight – You must be able to read the number of the vehicle from 20.5m away. If you cannot you should have your eyes tested before driving. Otherwise you are breaking the law.
  1. Lights and Tyres – If you are driving the vehicle it is your responsibility to check the lights and tyres. Not only are defective lights and worn tyres dangerous, it is also an offence to drive with them.
  1. Head Restraints – There are 250,000 cases of whiplash every year- damaging necks and backs and leading to time of work. Check the position of the head restraints before you drive off.
  1. Necessary journey? – Do you question whether or not a journey is necessary? Is it possible to use the telephone or email? If it is a long journey could use a safer form on transport.
  1. Speed Limits – Always drive within the speed limit, keeping a look out for pedestrians, cyclists and bikers. Speeding to save a few extra minutes is not worth it – it is you that will pay the price, not your employer.
  1. Drinking and Driving – Never risk driving after drinking or taking drugs, Even if a few hours have passed since your last drink, you may still be over the limit and at increased risk. Do not underestimate the effects of drink, even if you have had a sleep. Be aware of any side effects that may affect your ability to drive if you are on any kind of medication.
  1. Mobile phone use – Ensure that your mobile is switched off. Drivers using any kind of mobile phone (handheld or hands-free) have much slower reaction times than those who drive under the influence of alcohol. In fact you are 4 times more likely to crash if you are using a mobile whilst driving.
  1. Tiredness – Never drive when you are tired, this is a major cause of accidents on roads. On a long drive you should at least take one 15 minute rest every 2 hours.
  1. Distraction – It is easy to become distracted and “Switch-off” when you are driving. Do not try to multi-task for instance, smoking whilst driving and if you have passengers, ensure that they do not distract you.

If you think an occupational road safety policy is expensive, try a Crash. As many as 1 in 3 road collisions involves a vehicle being driven for work.

There were 9,737 casualties on NI roads last year...

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