When you’re managing a fleet of vehicles, you’re no doubt looking for ways to optimise efficiently and cut down on outgoing costs. You will have likely researched different makes and models based on fuel economy and tax, and perhaps brought in new checks to reduce maintenance costs. But driver behaviour is often an area that’s considered too difficult to tackle.
Small changes to driver behaviour and policy can have a huge impact. With the right processes in place, you won’t only reduce the amount of fuel you’re using, but you’ll cut CO2 emissions, reduce accidents and risk, and ensure legal compliance.
An infographic created by fleet software providers, Chevin, illustrates effects of driver behaviours.
The difference in the whole life-cycle cost of a fleet is reduced by as much as 12% when comparing good drivers with average drivers and, when comparing average drivers with bad drivers, a hefty 23% increase in costs can be seen.
It’s no surprise that poor drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident and when you consider that an accident can be up to 36 times the cost of a basic repair.
Driver errors are the leading contributory factor of a breakdown, playing a role in over two thirds, and fast and aggressive driving increases the amount of fuel used.
For a business considering their bottom line, those figures should make you reassess how you manage your driver policy, and why it matters.
When you add up the savings you could make in terms of fuel, maintenance, environmental impact and more, changing driver behaviour seems like an essential task. But what are the changes that you should be making to encourage your staff to embrace good driving behaviours?
- Optimised routes – The routes that your drivers take will impact your fuel consumption. Ideally, you want to select routes that allow your drivers to travel at a consistent speed and has reduced chances of them hitting traffic. Even if it means covering a longer distance, an optimised route can actually reduce your fuel use. The condition of the roads should be considered too, especially when you think about maintenance needs.
- Smooth driving – This is one of the biggest influences on the efficiency of your fleet that you should be educating your drivers about. Fast acceleration and harsh breaking don’t only mean that more fuel is used, they also put more pressure on the vehicle, increasing the number of repairs that are likely.
- Avoid idling – Some drivers might mistakenly believe that idling is better on fuel consumption than restarting the engine. But, in most cases, idling for longer than ten seconds starts to use up more of your fuel. Implementing a company-wide policy of switching off when stationary could be exactly what you need.
- Correct gear choice – Being in the right gear is essential for economical driving. If it’s an area you think your drivers are missing even occasionally, it’s likely to be costing you. Improving education among drivers is one way to tackle this issue.
Sarah Wilkinson, Global Communications Coordinator at Chevin Fleet Solutions – a worldwide leading provider of fleet management software – has produced several articles within the fleet industry, both internally and externally. After graduating from Bournemouth University, where she studied Communication and Media, Sarah has written for a number of PR and Marketing agencies across the country.