By Mark Cartwright, FTA’s Head of Vans and Light Commercial Vehicles
As we welcome in the New Year, many of us – 60% in fact – will be making New Year’s resolutions, such as saving more money, reducing our calorie intake or taking up a new hobby. But just as we set goals for our personal life, we should also consider how we could improve our behaviour at work, and – most crucially for van drivers – ensure we keep ourselves and other road users safe. Here are my top suggestions for New Year’s resolutions:
Remember daily pre-use checks
While daily pre-use van checks are not required by law, this is no reason to believe they are not an essential activity. The safety of the driver and other road users is reliant upon all of us operating a vehicle that’s roadworthy and fit to drive. Tyres, lights, steering, brakes and mirrors – among many other features – should be checked before departure.
Van Excellence developed a pre-use defect check app to help drivers. For more information, including how to download the app, please visit fta.co.uk/van
Seek help if you are struggling
Combine tight deadlines with long isolating hours spent on your own in a cab every day, and you have a recipe for stress, tension and more. But van drivers should not suffer in silence – poor mental health is a very common illness and resources are available to help. Van Excellence is working with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to help tackle the stigma around mental health and raise awareness of the support available. Find out more here
Understand the importance of hydration
A recent survey by Mercedes-Benz Vans found 20% of van drivers avoid drinking fluids during the day so they do not have to stop for a relief break. While the pressures of the job often mean relief breaks are not always possible, proper hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining good health and staying safe; motorists who are dehydrated make twice as many mistakes, according to research by Loughborough University. Dehydration can have a significant effect on the way we work – in fact a 1% dehydration level causes a 10% drop in performance: something we should all bear in mind when operating on Britain’s busy roads.
Strive for higher standards of safety and compliance
All van drivers and operators should try to achieve the highest standards of compliance and safety at all times. While this is easier said than done, Van Excellence is here to help. Whether it’s by aspiring to achieve its Van Excellence Code, attending its briefings, or taking part in a training course, there are plenty of resources available to ensure that your van fleet is operated to the highest possible standards.
Find out more about the Van Excellence code by visiting www.vanexcellence.co.uk