We have previously written about the responsibilities of employers when their staff “drive for work”. A real challenge in such situations is that many people – employers and employees alike – fail to understand what “driving for work” really means and consequently expose themselves to significant risk. While this is important and employers cannot neglect their legal responsibilities, it is also critical that a true partnership develops between the employer and employees to ensure that the necessary steps are taken. In 2017 the Irish Independent reported on a study which showed some shocking findings on basic driver awareness and preparedness. This included the following: 39% of drivers never checked tyre tread 31% of drivers failed to check oil levels 35% of drivers neglected to check whether brake lights are functioning 42% of drivers failed to check fuel levels before leaving on a long journey 33% of drivers didn’t know whether their vehicle had a spare tyre (and 37% didn’t know if their car had a jack!) Unfortunately, the report did not tell us whether these drivers worked for companies with suitable or effective policies, but let’s assume for a moment two key scenarios: where the employer either has a suitable policy in place or does not have a suitable policy in place. In the first instance, where a suitable policy is not in place, the employer would arguably have significant responsibility for allowing them to drive for work without having suitable knowledge of their vehicle and of the basic parameters of safe driving. Should an accident or incident happen while they are driving for work then the employer would carry significant liability. In the second instance, where a suitable policy is in place and training has taken place, it could well be argued that the employer has discharged their responsibilities. If the employee does not maintain sufficient knowledge of their vehicle and carry out the necessary checks despite a clear policy being in place, then to an extent they must bear a degree of responsibility. The lesson for employers, however, is that it is not enough just to have a policy in place: they must ensure that their employees follow it. That said, and as the saying goes, you can leave a horse to water… ISM Training’s specialist Fleet Division is highly experienced in all aspects of driving for work. We support Ireland’s largest organisations – private, state and semi-state – with the implementation of fleet training solutions to ensure that both that their legal obligations are met but more importantly that their employees are able to drive safely and effectively when carrying out their duties and “driving for work”. If you would like to learn more about how ISM Training and our Fleet Division can help you, call our friendly Customer Care Team today. Our friendly customer Customer Care Team can be contacted on 01 864 1790 and they would be delighted to discuss the consultancy and training options with you.
Best Tips for Winter Driving Winter and the stormy weather that goes with it are well and truly with us and, like it or not, over the next few months each of us will have to deal with wet and slippery roads. The dangers are amplified if those driving for work and as such forced to travel on unusual or unfamiliar roads. In order help you drive safely during the inclement weather, ISM Training have put together the following tips. These are very helpful tips, even for people familiar with the basics of advanced driving. "SLOW DOWN!" It takes longer to stop or adjust in wet weather. This should be obvious but it is also very important. "SLOW DOWN!" is the golden rule! Maintain proper following distance and drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you Don't follow large trucks or buses too closely. The spray created by their large tires reduces your vision. If you must pass, do so quickly and safely Avoid using your brakes; if possible, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down Turn your headlights on even in a light rain, or in gloomy, foggy or overcast conditions. Not only do they help you see the road, but they'll help other drivers see you. If your car has daytime running lights you still should put them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better. Avoid off-road driving: it's hard to judge the actual depth of puddles and you can easily become stuck, even in an SUV Never drive beyond the limits of visibility. The glare of oncoming lights can cause temporary loss of visibility while substantially increasing driver fatigue. Never drive through moving water: your car could float and be swept off the road. When driving through a puddle of uncertain depth, go slow. If it's deeper than the bottom of your doors, turn around and find another route. Deep water can cause serious damage to a modern car's electrical system Before you go - Wet weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls - steering, clutch, brake and accelerator - and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and liable to slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly. How are your tires? - Check your tires on a regular basis. Bald tires significantly reduce your traction on wet roads and offer little resistance to hydroplaning. When your tires run over water, the water is displaced and it needs somewhere to go quickly. The best place is between the treads of your tires. If your tires are bald, the water has no place to go and you end up riding on a layer of water, like a boat. Handling a skid - Losing control of your [...]
Parents teaching their children how to drive A leading national broadcaster recently recounted her horror at observing that her infant son was imitating her attitude and even language when they were driving together in the car. She noted that one day when beeping her horn in displeasure at the behaviour of another driver, her son launched a perfect version of one of her standard put-downs – crude language and all! While this episode may have prompted the broadcaster to moderate her language when driving (at least in the presence of her son!), you can’t help but wonder whether any other element of her practice as a driver changed. Having realised that her son was paying so much attention to what she did behind the wheel, did she – for example – start to drive with more consideration for other motorists or moderate her general demeanour? Or did she just keep on driving as usual – just without the language? Before you jump to any conclusions, it should be noted that this is by no means an attempt to denigrate the driving abilities of the broadcaster in question. Rather we are simply highlighting the importance that parents and other role models play in our development. The importance of positive role models for our personal and professional development is well-recognised in the field of learning. As humans we inevitably subconsciously mirror the behaviours of people who we respect and look up to. Yet what about when it comes to driving? Well, as our initial story has indicated the same applies to driving and learning to drive. As drivers our understanding of what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour on the roads so often comes from the behaviours that we have learnt from our first and perhaps most important role models – our parents. So if you are a parent perhaps now might be a good time to reflect on your own driving and think about the way you drive and behave on the road is provide a positive or, possibly, not so positive role model to your children. If they are young then there is no better time to make a change and practice safer and more considerate driving. Ultimately, safer driving is better for all – for you, your children and society at large – each one of us has an important role to play.
With Winter approaching fast, weather conditions are changing rapidly. While Ireland suffers from strong wind and rain all year round, needless to say the weather gets much worse in winter. Freezing fog, snow and ice all combine to make driving conditions increasingly hazardous. While it is important for all drivers to keep their car in good operating condition, of particular importance is having the rights tyres for your car and to ensure that they are in the best possible condition. The RSA Tyre Information Guide makes it clear that tyres must… Be the right kind and size for your vehicle be properly inflated be free from defects have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm They similarly highlight that the dangers of using sub-standard or incorrect tyres include: Reduced road handling – you have less control of your vehicle Increased braking distances – it could take up to twice the normal braking distance to stop Aquaplaning – where your tyres lose grip on the road in wet conditions Blow-outs – resulting in loss of control of the vehicle The sad thing is that typically people do not check their tyres unless they are putting the car in for an NCT test. Most people are, consequently, completely unaware of the state of their tyres. While ISM does not endorse a particular brand of tyres we do recommend that motorists choose the best possible tyres they can within the limits of their budget. If in doubt consult an expert, otherwise by the time you find out that your tyres are not up to scratch it might just be too late. For any guidance on winter driving call our friendly customer support team today on 01 864 1790.