Driving risks – do you know what the five biggest are?

New research has revealed the five most common driving risks drivers face behind the wheel. The leading risk factor is unsurprisingly, driver behaviour, followed by road type, shift length, sun position and day of the week.

This finding is based on telematics data covering nearly 200 million kilometres driven over the course of just 4 million driving hours. With the driver posing the biggest risk, this further underlines the need for driver behaviour monitoring to help reduce risk factors and accidents within your company. This clearly has the added benefit of reducing insurance cost.

The research also analysed the most common warning signs of bad driving behaviour. Harsh braking came in at number one, followed by harsh cornering and speeding.

With our own app based telematics solution we are also able to monitor phone use, which traditional dongles cannot do. We are seeing phone use as a key component of driving risk.

Bart Vanham

Road type is the second biggest factor in likelihood of an accident occurring and the data reinforces the commonly cited fact that motorways are the safest roads. In general, these roads provide better flow, and while speeds are higher, cars are also usually further apart, avoiding the need to brake and accelerate so frequently, and completely removing the need to corner. Urban roads come out as the most dangerous, with higher levels of harsh braking witnessed, while may be due in part to the stop-start of city traffic, urban areas also carry higher levels of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

The research also reflected the need for businesses employing commercial drivers to factor in shift length. On average, the report showed that a driver performs 50% more harsh braking events during their last hour of driving, compared to their first hour. This has serious implications both for people completing long journeys for work, or for those travelling for personal reasons. Planning regular stopovers or breaks are essential, as is businesses planning shift lengths to reflect driver fatigue.

driving risks sun glare
Sun glare especially during winter months is a key risk factor often overlooked

Sun position came in fourth place in the list of risks, with the research finding there is a 13.9% higher rate of harsh braking when the sun is prominent, likely due to dazzle or over confidence. Perhaps surprisingly, the frequency of harsh braking actually decreases during rain and snow as drivers become more cautious. Time of year also plays a factor. On average, there are 20% more crashes per day when daylight saving ends and the clocks go back.

Finally, days of the week. On weekdays, harsh braking remains consistent, but increases drastically (by 21%) during the weekend. Factors for this likely include drivers feeling more relaxed, with fewer cars around, making it easier for them to accelerate and causing more of a surprise when they come across other vehicles.

Drivers often over state their driving ability and confidence levels. With the correct driver programmes in place, you are able to highlight who is at risk and to identify what safety culture operates within your company. The results may surprise you.

Bart Vanham

View a recent case study. Make 2020 the year of change for your company and reduce driving risks.

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