Fleet News

Champion diet tips for better driving

DIET and fitness techniques used by the world's leading rally drivers are to be used to improve the safety record of company car drivers.

Prodrive, the motorsport company best known for being the team behind the World Rally Championship campaigns of Subaru, launches a new division - Prodrivelive - on January 1, 2002 with corporate driver development programmes at its core.

Prodrivelive will use the Prodrive team's diet, fitness and endurance programmes utilised by Richard Burns, Britain's top rally driver.

The launch of the new Warwickshire-based division signals the return to the driver training industry of Paul Catlin as managing director of Prodrivelive.

He is promising a radical change of approach to an industry which he says has not changed in its use of teaching techniques since 1997 when he sold Drive & Survive.

'I don't think all accidents involving company-owned vehicles are caused by poor driving,' said Catlin. 'I think the majority of fleet drivers are very good but they are under a lot of stress; they have mood swings and mood dictates driving style.

'Food and water intake impacts on concentration levels and the majority of accidents occur because drivers are not focusing on the task in hand. We will be training company car drivers to become their own risk manager and looking at the mental side of driving as well as the practical side.'

Prodrivelive's top dietary tips include:

  • Good hydration habits allow healthy nerve function, maintain energy levels and mental focus, and place less stress on the heart and circulatory system. A 2 per cent loss of body fluid can result in drops of mental and physical performance of between 10 and 25 per cent. Drink two litres of water daily - more during hot weather.

  • Disrupted sleep patterns impact on driving reaction times. If you need eight hours sleep make sure you get it.

  • Low blood sugar levels impact on reaction times. Avoid more than three-four hours between meals and never miss breakfast. Give your brain the right fuel by making sure you eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Avoid excessive caffeine consumption - a maximum of two caffeinated drinks daily to ensure quick reaction times.

  • Stretching is crucial to driver performance enhancing posture and endurance as well as reducing the risk of neck and back pain, thereby resulting in greater driver comfort and performance.

  • A sound endurance base is the cornerstone of good general fitness. It can assist with weight management and increase energy levels. It allows you to recover quicker after exertion, improves ability to deal with stress and enhances concentration. It will underpin all time spent in a car. Run, walk briskly or perform other exercise three-five times a week for 25-60 minutes.

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