DriverMetrics has released a guide for fleet managers which addresses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on driver stress.
Written by Dr Lisa Dorn, research director at DriverMetrics, the document identifies the signs of driver stress during the pandemic, its effect on crash involvement and advice on supporting rivers.
Dorn said: “We are going to be living and working in the context of Covid-19 for a sustained period.
“For many people, driving for work will be even more stressful than ever before, as a range of anxieties and concerns distract drivers.
“Thankfully, there is a large body of research that can help us to identify the signs of driver stress and to take steps to reduce it.”
The report highlights that drivers may feel:
- Frightened that they will catch the virus or worried about loved ones. They may be fearful about their livelihoods in the future.
- Helpless that something really bad has happened and feel powerless. They may feel vulnerable and overwhelmed.
- Angry about what has happened and find people/organisations to blame
- Guilty that they have survived when others have suffered or died.
- Sad that people suffered or died, especially if someone they knew has been affected.
- Hopeful that their life will return to normal.
Drivers may respond to this stress by suffering difficulties with sleep, poor concentration, suffering with headaches or ill-health, changes in appetite, and increased alcohol consumption.
“These human responses to the pandemic are quite normal but fleet managers need to be aware of how changes in a fleet driver’s menta; health can affect crash risk,” says the report.
“Once there is a relaxing of the rules around lockdown you need to ensure that you maintain a vigilant watch.
“Research has shown that after a trauma, people are more likely to have accidents.”
Among the report’s recommendations are that fleet managers should ensure adequate protection and follow social distancing guidelines in the workplace to reduce fears and anxieties, and increase levels of communication with the workforce to make sure they feel their well-being matters.
It also recommends providing support to drivers and talk to them about their concerns, and be vigilant to signs of fatigue, stress and alcohol or drug use.