Social Distancing for Truckers: Eight Ways to Keep Your Drivers Safe—and Efficient
All through the COVID-19 outbreak, as people have hunkered down in their homes and practiced social distancing, we’ve heard them say it so many times: “Thank goodness the trucking industry is still running!”
They’re right, of course. If it weren’t for brave, dedicated drivers like yours, millions of people would be without even the basic necessities of life right now.
But this doesn’t mean that social distancing guidelines don’t apply to truck drivers and their colleagues in the transportation industry. And it certainly doesn’t mean truckers are somehow immune from COVID-19 or any other virus. In fact, we should all be paying more attention to how we can keep drivers safe during the pandemic.
The challenge, of course, is to do it in a way that doesn’t also hamper their efficiency. Because, again, we desperately need our truckers right now.
Here are some simple guidelines for protecting your drivers through sanitary practices and social distancing techniques. Dash cams and other video technology can actually help you keep your drivers safe during this challenging time.
- Encourage hand-washing. In the face of a scary, potentially deadly virus, it’s tempting to think that we all must be doing something extraordinary to protect ourselves and others. But we can do a lot of good by simply getting back to the basics. Encourage your drivers to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. Every stop is not too often.
- Provide your drivers with hand sanitizer. In between stops, your drivers will touch many surfaces that could put them at risk of contracting the coronavirus. Truth be told, there’s not always time to run into the nearest bathroom and wash their hands before they hit the road again. By providing them with hand sanitizer to keep in their vehicles, you’ll not only reduce their risk of infection, but also send the message that your company cares about its drivers.
- Provide your drivers with masks and gloves. Despite the fact that millions of Americans are following social distancing guidelines carefully, your drivers can’t avoid having a certain amount of close contact with other humans. Don’t make them go searching for their own protection. Supply them with masks, as well as latex and non-latex gloves, that can minimize their risk of infection. Knowing that they’re as well-protected as they can be, your drivers will then be able to work efficiently to keep their routes moving.
- Support your drivers when they aren’t well. We’ve all become conditioned to look for the signs of possible COVID-19 infection. And we’re all grateful that COVID-19 testing has become widely available. But this pandemic is also a great opportunity for you to show your drivers that you’re concerned about their overall health. If they’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, it’s obviously essential to help them get the proper evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. Even if they test negative for COVID-19 or are showing different symptoms, be generous in helping them connect with the care they need.
- Offer frequent breaks and time off. So many companies are dealing with overworked fleets right now. The demand for truckloads often exceeds the supply of available drivers. But if we burn out the drivers we do have, things will only get worse. This is a good time to consider offering your drivers more flexibility in their break schedules and time off options.
- Offer virtual coaching. Face-to-face coachings are one of the most important elements of driver training. But we’re living in different times. To minimize the risk of infection, coach your drivers via web conference wherever possible. Many dash cams can be configured to capture both the outside of the vehicle and the driver at the same time. And your coach may be able to provide verbal instructions and feedback via a separate handheld device.
- Offer virtual ride-alongs. Here’s where dash cams and video telematics can help you protect your drivers. Rather than having a coach ride along in the cab, use your dash cams to let the coach monitor your driver’s performance over the internet. The coach will be able to see what’s happening all around the outside of the vehicle and provide meaningful feedback at every stage of the journey.
Gridline’s business partner, Lytx, confirms that video telematics supports social distancing by enabling managers to see what’s happening in and around a vehicle, on a live or replay basis. This is a great way to keep both your drivers and managers safe without compromising your training program.
- Minimize human contact after collisions. Your drivers are supposed to exchange information with other drivers after a crash. Coach them in how to do so from a safe distance, and remind them that it’s unsafe to handle each other’s documents, pens, and paper. Also, remember that your dash cam probably captured much of the information that will be useful in helping determine what really happened in the accident.
These common-sense tips will help you protect your drivers through social distancing, without interfering any more than necessary with their daily duties. Together, Gridline and Lytx are committed to leveraging dash cam technology and video telematics so you can better support the safety and efficiency of your hard-working drivers. We’ll continue to provide blog articles and other information on this topic. In our next article, we’ll explore how to keep your drivers safe when long runs and packed schedules make them drowsy.