Daylight savings comes to an end on Sunday, signaling a transition to shorter days and longer nights. The changing light, coupled with changing seasons, means more dangerous driving conditions, so it’s essential for couriers to be prepared and on alert for potential nighttime and weather-related hazards.
At Am-Tran we take a proactive approach to the changing conditions. Raising awareness in advance prepares drivers and dispatchers for the coming challenges. Allowing for more time to make deliveries reduces some of the pressure to rush. Performing routine maintenance, with a focus on brakes and tires, gets our vehicles into shape for the changing road conditions.
Here are more detailed thoughts on the matter.
Problem 1. Night Driving
The first immediate concern is the quick shift to less daylight during rush hour. We are presently accustomed to relatively simple driving conditions when the sun goes down, but with the onset of daylight savings time, we are thrust into driving at night when there are still a lot more people on the road, including school age children riding all kinds of different electric contraptions.
Solution: Raise Awareness
It takes special awareness to recognize this change and prepare accordingly.
- Take a moment to acknowledge the change. This is done through proactive messages that mandate responses
- Emphasize defensive driving
- Wear high-visibility/reflective clothing so you can be seen in low visibility conditions
Problem 2. Traffic
The early nights during rush hour will have increased traffic as people adjust to driving at night while it’s still busy on the streets. Traffic also increases as the holiday season approaches. While Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas bring great joy, they also require preparation that brings more people out shopping, etc., sometimes under stressful situations that make them less aware. This can create a more dangerous environment for driving. Therefore, we encourage our drivers to exercise caution and allocate additional time for their deliveries to ensure safety during these busy and potentially challenging times.
Solution: Allow for More Time
Like the problems of night driving, awareness is a key factor to improving safety. Preparing in advance for increased traffic can have a meaningful impact. Here are some of the best tips for reducing accidents:
- Allow for more time to make deliveries
- Promote the use of GPS to find the safest and quickest routes
- Update routes when the engine is off to discourage any sort of distracting behavior while driving.
Communication is also key. Reenforce with dispatchers, drivers and customers, that professional drivers NEVER text and drive. If a driver needs to be contacted immediately, it should be done by phone, and only with a hands free system in place. You don’t want anything getting lost in translation when the roads are rough and patient care is on the line.
Problem 3. Bad Weather
Driving can be dangerous in the best of conditions. But when the colder, wetter months make for slippery and dark roads, drivers are much more vulnerable to roadway errors and accidents. Being alert and prepared can make all the difference.
Solution: Be Prepared
You can’t control the weather, but you can be prepared for the bad conditions it brings. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep up the maintenance schedule for your vehicle so it’s ready for the winter
- Specifically make sure your tires and brakes are well equipped to handle slippery roads, and all your lights and turn signals are working properly.
Practicing defensive driving during or following episodes of bad weather might be one of the most important steps to staying safe. Maintain a healthy following distance from the cars in front of you. Avoid distractions, especially your phone. Stay alert and stay off the road if you feel at all drowsy.
The switch to daylight savings time presents specific challenges and opportunities for delivery companies. By far the biggest challenge is to instill an awareness that the time change has very real implications for safety that need immediate attention. The abrupt time time change provides an opportunity to really focus on this important change