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Winter driving tips - How Telematics can help keep drivers safe on our roads

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New Zealand is a scenic hotspot, with thousands taking popular Kiwi road trips, particularly while international travel is expensive and still has its risks. During winter months, while Mother Nature offers breath-taking scenery, the weather is also renowned for being wild and unpredictable. Storms, heavy rain, ice and snow can all be very dangerous. MetService is warning of the most unsettled winter weather in years, predicting severe weather risks and three waves of rain in both islands.

There are more drivers on our roads these days, including caravans, light vehicles and trucks, and more drivers mean more risk. Driver fatigue, lack of driver training and inadequate driver safety systems contribute to our road crash and road death statistics.

Winter driving can be challenging, but it’s a perfect time to double down on safety to minimise the heart-breaking effects on communities and families. Telematics technologies can give drivers and fleet managers more control over safety by providing driver analytics and safety alerts in real time.

Enhance driver safety with real-time information and alerts

Allowing a greater following distance is a must. It’s easy to lose control in wet and icy conditions, so be more aware of your surroundings, keep more distance between you and the vehicle in front, and be prepared to drive slower than you normally would. Driving with your headlights dipped throughout the day is also a good practice during winter, especially in wet, snowy or foggy conditions as well as at dawn and dusk.

There are many more hazards on the roads during winter. Having access to instant alerts and feedback in the face of poor behaviours on the road is invaluable for keeping everyone safe. Recording and monitoring unsafe practices such as following distance, distractions, and harsh usage in real-time takes a proactive approach, giving fleet managers the resources to mitigate unsafe habits before serious damage or injury is caused. This information helps you and your drivers make better on-road decisions, and necessary changes to driving patterns that will help to keep everyone safe on the roads.

Minimise the risk of driver fatigue

In Aotearoa New Zealand in 2020, fatigue was a factor in 25 road deaths and 113 serious injury crashes. Fatigue can impair reaction times, alertness, and concentration. Driver fatigue is usually caused by lack of sleep for the driver; however, it can easily set in on long journeys without adequate rests to break up the monotony. It can also be caused by irregular or disruptive work schedules.

Telematics technology can help fleet managers to ensure that proper systems are in place to manage driver fatigue. Ensuring your drivers are rested and energised is vital in reducing the number of collisions occurring on the road. By having software that gives you up-to-date, real-time data on workers’ hours, schedules and breaks, managers can allocate appropriate work rosters to their drivers.

Meanwhile, drivers can ensure they’re well rested, taking appropriate breaks, allowing stops when possible and managing workload. Keep alert to hazards on the road and always have warm clothes, extra food and water, and other handy items like snow chains, shovel, torch, and tow rope.

Increase driver training with personalised coaching

With the increase of cars on our roads and wild weather ahead throughout the country, it has never been more important to have exceptionally trained and skilled drivers behind the wheel. In 2021, New Zealand had 6.3 road deaths per 100,000 people, compared to our Aussie neighbours with 4.4 deaths per 100,000 people. It is easy for drivers to fall into bad driving habits, especially with speeding and poor hazard identification.

Telematic technologies can provide automatic monitoring of driving violations and give insight via analytic reports on driver performance. Drivers can be coached in real-time as errors are committed with feedback and cautions. Having the resources to identify areas of concern with driver safety, and to effectively communicate these through analytics, provides vital support to ensure that our drivers are competent, aware, and well equipped when driving this winter.

 


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