Blogs, topical advice, and thoughts from experienced logistics industry advisers
By Kevin Green, FTA’s Executive Sponsor for the Van Sector
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the UK, health has become a primary focus for employers and employees alike. As individuals, we should always seek to maintain good health; below we outline some best practices for drivers to follow.
Hygiene is vital to controlling the spread of germs. It is therefore necessary to wash your hands regularly; either between deliveries, or, if delivering to a business you could always ask if you could use their facilities.
Germs also live on surfaces in your vehicle(s). A 2016 study by a US travel website revealed that, on average, petrol pumps have 11,835 times more germs than a public toilet seat. After touching the petrol pump, most drivers then return to their vehicle and continue to touch items in that vehicle. Think about the amount of times you touch your steering wheel in a day, or place food on your dash. How often do you clean and disinfect your vehicle?
DIET AND HYDRATION
A survey by Mercedes-Benz Vans UK found that 70 per cent of van drivers feel that work pressures severely restrict their ability to stay hydrated and stick to a healthy diet; dehydration and poor nutrition have been proven to impact driver performance.
Simple tricks like swapping fizzy drinks for water and preparing lunch in advance so it is less tempting to grab something unhealthy on the go can make a big difference.
Tiredness impairs driving performance by reducing reaction time, alertness and concentration. Ultimately, driving tired increases the chance of a collision, so drivers must take steps to prioritise rest. Here are six measure drivers can employ to reduce the likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel:
- Obtain adequate sleep before a journey
- Avoid driving in the early morning
- Take a nap before a journey
- Change drivers (providing the new driver is alert)
- Drink a caffeinated drink and immediately take a 15 to 20-minute nap
- Pull over to a roadside hotel to sleep
For more information on Van Excellence please visit http://www.vanexcellence.co.uk/
Posted: 18/03/2020 12:16:55
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From city centre parking restrictions to the logistical challenges of multi-drop deliveries, access to kerbside in urban areas can present a real challenge to van drivers. So we understand that often you have no choice but to put your vehicle onto a pavement. It is, however, important you always remain mindful of the needs of others and ensure your vehicles is positioned as considerately as possible. While pavement parking has been illegal in London since 1974, in October 2019, Scotland made history as the first UK country to outlaw it; as such, it is expected to be a big issue in 2020.
While the new Scottish legislation does contain a clause allowing delivery vehicles to park on the pavement for up to 20 minutes at a time, there are still safety concerns – whether you are in Scotland, or elsewhere in the UK – that you must keep in mind. After all, vehicles on pavements can obstruct vulnerable pedestrians, including mobility scooter users, wheelchair users, the visually impaired and parents with pushchairs. By blocking the pavement, you may be preventing their onward travel, or forcing these people into the road to get past, therefore compromising their safety. You should also ensure you are not parking over areas of tactile pavement designed to assist the visually impaired. These are usually noticeable as they have raised bumps on them therefore signalling to visually impaired pedestrians that there is an available crossing for them.
Special consideration should also be made when stopping at the roadside. For example, you should avoid stopping your vehicle opposite junctions and alongside dropped kerbs. Dropped kerbs are essential crossing points for wheelchair or mobility scooter users and maintain their access to local facilities. Their safety could be compromised if forced to cross using higher, raised kerbs as this could cause their wheelchair or scooter to tip over. Leaving your vehicle inconsiderately either at a junction, or a dropped kerb, could see you issued with a penalty charge notice – so it is also in your best interests to park considerately!
Posted: 03/02/2020 09:00:00
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January often comes with New Year resolutions and you may often hear the phrase ‘New year, new me’. Quite often these resolutions are based around health and fitness however, how many of us include our eyes within this?
Vision problems are a common occurrence in the UK with an estimated 74% of the British population using glasses, contact lenses or having had laser eye surgery. However, these vision issues do not always mean that you must surrender your licence. The UK law states that drivers must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away, with lorry and bus drivers required to meet higher, more specific vision standards.
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, explained: “Having good vision is absolutely essential for safe driving. It is vital that motorists have their eyes checked by an optometrist every two years, or if they notice any changes to their vision.” Despite this, a road safety survey found that 25% of UK drivers do not adhere to this. It also found that astonishingly, approximately 1.5 million licence holders have never had their eyes tested.
If you are found to be driving with less than sufficient vision you could risk facing up to a £1,000 fine, three points on your licence or potential disqualification from driving. If you are deemed to be a risk to the public, the police could also request to have your licence revoked with immediate effect.
With an estimated 2,900 injuries and costs of around £33 million a year in the UK as a result of road crashes involving drivers with poor vision, make sure you do not become another statistic. Companies such as Specsavers and Vision Express often run free eye test campaigns making it quick and easy to get your eyes tested.
If you make one resolution this year, make your eyes the priority!
Posted: 06/01/2020 14:40:29
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We're officially in party season; Christmas is just around the corner and the invitations are flooding in for nights out down the pub, evening soirées, and other celebrations with family and friends. While most of us are aware of the dangers of driving while under the influence, and avoid it at all costs, many of us forget that alcohol can still have an effect on us the morning after.
After all, our bodies process alcohol differently; while the blood alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland may be 80 mg/100ml and 50mg/100ml in Scotland, there is no way of knowing how many milligrammes one unit of alcohol will produce in your bloodstream. Abiding by the government's recommended units, therefore, will not automatically mean you are safe to drive.
Sleep is not the magic solution to sobering up: it has no bearing on the level of alcohol in your bloodstream. And while a glass of water (or two) before going to bed will certainly rehydrate you, and a morning cup of coffee will give you a caffeine boost to wake up, neither of these can speed up the rate at which alcohol leaves your system – that is down to the work of enzymes in your liver. If you cannot avoid the party season completely, then the charity DrinkAware has some tips to help you cut your alcohol consumption:
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water
- Drink singles rather than doubles
- Choose lower strength drinks, rather than spirits or strong beers or ciders
- Stop drinking early enough to ensure your body has time to process the booze in your system before the morning
With 85,000 people convicted of drink driving related offences every year in England and Wales alone, is one more beer really worth losing your licence for?
Posted: 02/12/2019 09:00:00
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By Mark Cartwright, Head of Vans and Light Commercial Vehicles, FTA
With fatigue a contributing factor in around 30 per cent of fatal incidents on the UK's roads, van drivers must understand the dangers of driving while drowsy; equally, employers must adopt a strict no tolerance rule. But with 40 per cent of all car, van and lorry drivers admitting to driving while tired, it is clear there is much more work to be done.
With the help of Marcus de Guingand, Managing Director of Third Pillar of Health, who spoke at our recent Van Excellence Operational Briefings, let's look at some of the ways fatigue can affect a person – both in the short and long term – and as you'll see, the symptoms go well beyond simply feeling drowsy:
- Reduced energy, alertness, vigilance and productivity
- Stress, mood shifts, irritability and strained relationships
- Daytime drowsiness and microsleeps
- Reduced vocabulary and poor communication skills
It is easy to see how fatigue can impact work performance, and in particular, our ability to drive safely. The Third Pillar of Health encourages any company whose employees operate vans to adopt a strict no tolerance approach to driving while tired. This should include intervening when a driver appears too tired to drive, and reviewing internal policies and procedures to ensure drowsy driving is prohibited and the ban maintained.
Of course, van drivers must also take responsibility for themselves; they can stay safe by spotting the warning signs of tiredness early – such as frequent yawning and eyelids drooping – and taking evasive action as soon as possible. For advice on how drivers can overcome tiredness while already on the road, please scroll down the webpage to our August blog.
Posted: 17/10/2019 09:00:00
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