Truck drivers have played a critical role in helping the world survive the pandemic. With drivers delivering emergency response supplies, many experienced an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Fleets have implemented new sanitation protocols to keep their drivers healthy, but COVID-19 has far-reaching effects on roadway safety.
With many people still working from home, highways and backroads are experiencing a dramatic reduction in traffic. This decrease in passenger vehicles has led to wildlife venturing beyond their usual perimeters. As a result, more animals find their way to highways. Drivers need to remain alert for signs of wildlife as animals may dart into oncoming traffic with little warning. Such incidents are more likely to happen early in the morning before the sun rises.
Significantly fewer commuters on the roads means truck drivers are able to reach their destinations faster. The decreased traffic and increased demand for essential supplies translate to less time sitting in traffic and a greater urgency to reach the destination in a timely manner.
Collisions are down across the board. Avoidable near collisions, unavoidable near collisions, and collisions themselves are all down by about 25%. Telematics experts attribute this to the decrease in passenger vehicles as well. Many motorists don’t understand the mechanics behind operating a commercial vehicle, which increases risk while they are on the road.
There has also been a notable decrease in late responses. Late responses occur when an undistracted driver has a delayed or abrupt response to a visible risk. Drivers with slower reaction times are exponentially more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers who react properly. Compared to statistics before the pandemic, this risky behavior is down by over 60%.
Truck drivers continue to rise to the challenge of delivering essential supplies across the country during the pandemic. Reduced traffic provides several safety benefits, but truck drivers need to remain vigilant to highway hazards. To learn more about improving safety within your fleet, contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers.