Driver well-being vital for road safety during Christmas ramp-up, says AA

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With professional drivers under pressure during the run up to Christmas, driver training specialist Drivetech, part of the AA, is urging businesses and operators to pay particular attention to the mental health and well-being of their drivers over this busy time. Drivetech says that about 30% of all miles driven on UK’s roads are by at-work vehicles, and with ever-growing demands on driver time, mental health and well-being increasingly play a vital role in professional driver behaviour.

According to the CPT, almost one in ten bus driver positions are vacant in the UK, driving the drop in the number of services, and prompting calls to improve pay and conditions. Product Manager at Drivetech Dave Wales said: “Basics such as timely breaks, healthy food and hydration all influence well-being, but when it comes to professional drivers, addressing these needs can be complex. Employers should already be scheduling journeys to take these factors into account, but these need to be flexible to take account of potential disruptions to journeys that can be driven by external factors, such as incidents, weather conditions, roadworks, vehicle faults and seasonality. Good time management can be critical in helping drivers to manage stress.

“Personalities and experience will also impact on driver stress levels. What attitudes do drivers have to risk? How will they respond to disruption? And how do their confidence levels impact on handling different scenarios? Employers can address these issues by securing bespoke driver training to drill down into potential issues. Such training has an important role to play in helping drivers to understand how their emotions influence their behaviour, the actions they can take to manage stressful situations and how their attitude to risk impacts how they handle safety, especially if time is a factor.”

The AA can be found at www.theaa.com