One in three company car drivers fail to recognise half the potential hazards they face while motoring in Britain, according to E-Training World.
Analysis of tests taken by drivers using the E-Training World risk assessment programme found that 35% of fleet drivers are unable to recognise 50% of the clues to potential hazards in typical road scenes.
Among the most common missed danger points were areas such as signs saying ‘car boot sale ahead’ which would indicate likely traffic queues, road markings, such as hazard warning lines indicating fixed hazards including junctions, changes in road surfaces and buildings set away from the road, indicating hidden junctions ahead.
In addition 20% of drivers didn’t know how to adjust their head restraint properly to avoid whiplash, and 12% of drivers were unaware that a road scene containing a system of street lights and no visible speed signs denotes a 30mph speed limit.
The findings, taken from E-Training World’s online system, which assesses 15,000 drivers per year, reveal some startling shortfalls in many drivers’ road and vehicle knowledge, as well as their hazard perception skills.
“When you talk to companies operating vehicle fleets, they frequently bemoan the number of accidents their drivers have, the number of speeding fines incurred and there is also a serious epidemic in the UK regarding whiplash claims,” said Graham Hurdle, managing director of E-Training World.
“However, it is unsurprising that accidents are happening when such a large proportion of drivers are unable to spot many clues to potential hazards, which effectively means they are blind to the dangers around them. And if they also do not know what the speed limit is in urban areas, again it should come as no shock that they are getting caught.”
Hazard perception is about spotting clues to the potential dangers ahead, and according to Hurdle this is a key skill in reducing the number of accidents.
“Accidents happen when drivers ignore these clues and drive on at speed to then hit the back of a traffic queue, meet another vehicle pulling out of a junction or misjudge a corner,” he added.
“As for recognising speed limits and how to set head restraints, this is a five minute job to educate drivers and can be done online using our e-driver training systems. But many companies soldier on processing the fines and defending the claims rather than dealing with the root cause.”