Long journeys: 5 tips for driving for work
Originally uploaded on April 26, 2022
In recent years, businesses have been cutting down on the number of long journeys that their fleet and staff have been taking. This has been caused by COVID restrictions, environmental concerns, and rising fuel prices. However, since COVID restrictions have eased and fuel prices continue to fluctuate, businesses will soon find themselves having to reconsider these long drives if they haven’t begun too already.
After a break from long journeys, your staff will need refreshing on the best practice for staying safe and alert on the road. Here are our top tips for long journeys:
Prepare your vehicle
No matter the size, a long drive can be the ultimate test for a vehicle. Make sure that, before starting the journey, the vehicle has been fully checked and is in proper working condition. The fluid levels such as oil, coolant, and washer fluid will all need to be topped up and the brakes and lights will need to be in working order. The vehicle’s tyres should also be viable and match the legal requirements for tread and inflation, the standard of which is 1.6mm tread size.
It is also crucial that your vehicle’s service and MOT are up to date. With telematics, you can keep track of important maintenance dates across your fleet and be alerted when your vehicle’s documentation is running out.
When starting a long trip, it is important to have supplies ready and carefully considering fleet safety is vital. These include general necessities such as healthy snacks and water, as well as a stock of items that may become crucial in an emergency.
The recommended daily intake of water is 6–8 glasses a day which, if 250ml equals a glass, converts to 1.5–2 litres. Bear in mind that this is a suggested figure and can vary based on multiple factors such as age, health, or even the weather. If the driver is going to be exposed to the sun on a motorway for an extended period, they may need to bring more water to prevent dehydration or sunstroke. It is also a clever idea to bring extra water in case the vehicle runs out of screen wash.
In the case of sunny weather, encourage sunscreen use among your fleet to prevent skin damage and illnesses that can be caused by UV exposure.
As well as hot weather, it is important to be prepared for wintry conditions and potential breakdowns. Remember to check out our guide for staying safe while driving in winter. A breakdown-ready kit could include:
• Waterproof clothes and warm jumpers or jackets in case the vehicle becomes stranded in cold and wet conditions with a dead battery.
• De-icer and a windshield scraper.
• Long-life food or snacks.
• Phone chargers and potentially a power bank, especially if you are using your phone for directions.
• A map: in case all else fails.
• An empty fuel can.
• A spare tyre and jack.
• Jump leads.
• Visibility wear and a torch.
In case of an emergency, it’s always a good idea to have a well-stocked first-aid kit in your vehicle.
Smaller but handy items to take are pens, wipes, and a suitable pair of sunglasses. It’s also smart to have some change ready for any tolls or parking fees your drivers may come across on their journey.
Plan your route
It is good practice to plan your fleet’s routes in advance. It can save you and your drivers time, money, and convenience. When it comes to longer journeys, the importance of good planning is amplified. Drivers should schedule regular breaks so that they can remain aware and alert whilst driving. The recommended number of breaks is 15 minutes every 2–3 hours.
As well as plotting the best route for the journey, look up the expected weather conditions and check if there are any roadworks planned. National Highways is a useful resource for this.
Take all necessary documents
Be sure that, when you are travelling, you always have all the required documentation with you. This includes your driver’s license, your company insurance information, and, if you are driving abroad such as in the EU, any additional documentation you will need for that area.
Take the best fuel card
Fleets will often have different fuel cards that they can use at different refuelling stations to get the best value fuel. The best cards for long journeys offer a fixed weekly rate. If your fleet contains large vehicles, you will also need a card that provides access to bunker sites.
To find out the best fuel card for your fleet, you can use our compare fuel cards tool or, if you would like tailored advice, get in touch and we will hand-select the perfect fuel card solution for you.