Do I even need to drive?

Transport September 09, 2020

RSK’s Safe Driving Campaign, organised by RSK’s Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) team, was launched in July 2020 and aims to encourage RSK employees to think before they take to the driving seat. The latest module, ‘safe journey’, invites each employee to consider what planning needs to be done to ensure that their journey is completed safely.

More of us than ever before are working from home and have discovered the flexibility that technology affords us to remotely participate in meetings.

RSK’s corporate travel plan looks at ways in which we can reduce travel, be more efficient and reduce our impact on the environment.

Video or telephone conferences reduce the risks that come with making a physical journey, and they are more environmentally friendly. So, before you make a journey, ask yourself, do I really need to travel in the first place? Most of our meetings at RSK are now virtual, including our board meetings. This is one of the positives that we will take from the changes we have had to make as a business since the COVID-19 pandemic, and something we will continue in its aftermath.

If a journey really does need to be made, considerations should be taken as to what mode of transport is safest, most efficient and most environmentally friendly. Where practical, walking or cycling often ticks all three of these boxes and should be your first choice; remember that these can often form part of a longer journey. Next in the hierarchy is public transport, which is usually more efficient and more environmentally friendly than a single-occupancy vehicle.

“To assess the practical use of public transport you may wish to consider whether it takes more than 30% additional time than the quickest mode or has an additional cost of over 30% more than driving, as calculated at the agreed mileage rate,” comments Alex McKinlay, RSK Group Fleet Manager.

At the moment, you also need to take into consideration any risks associated with coronavirus that public transport may present, such as being closer to other people. You may be able to negate these by picking a quiet time to travel and wearing a face mask. However, if you can’t manage these risks, you may need to consider an alternative travel method.

Ordinarily, car sharing would be advised as the next most efficient and environmentally friendly option in the travel hierarchy, but, at present, the safety risks associated with car sharing with anyone outside of your own household due to COVID-19 make this option unviable.

You can see the full hierarchy below.

Travel hierarchy

 

If your own vehicle really is the only feasible option, you can minimise your journey’s risk, and potentially reduce your carbon emissions, by remembering the following risks acronym:

We                      Drive                Really               Very                 Carefully

Weather            Driver               Route               Vehicle             Cargo.

Alex’s Top Tips

Weather

“Check the weather forecast before making your journey. If severe weather is forecast, consider postponing your journey whenever possible. If you can’t postpone, make the necessary adjustments, such as considering which route you will take and ensuring you have any equipment you might need, such as a shovel, scraper and de-icer.”

Driver

“First and foremost, the driver must be licensed to drive the vehicle. You should also make sure the driver is in a fit state to drive, which includes ensuring they are not overtired. You should allow plenty of time to make the journey and, if the working day, including driving, exceeds 14 hours, book overnight accommodation. Irrespective of how many hours you have been working or driving, if you feel overly tired during any part of your journey, you should stop at the next safe point and consider checking into a hotel.”

Route

“Ensure that your driving distance is reasonable for one day. At RSK, we advise a maximum limit of 320 miles a day. Take into consideration any obstacles on your route, such as accident hotspots, traffic jams and roadworks. If possible, use a route that you are familiar with and, if this is not possible, allow extra time to complete your journey with the necessary care and attention.”

Vehicle

“At RSK, we advise a vehicle check be completed before you drive a vehicle and at regular intervals thereafter. Get into the habit of checking your vehicle thoroughly every time you use it. You can find RSK’s checklist in our ‘in the driving seat’ article.”

Cargo

“Check that all cargo and potential projectiles are properly secured. Don’t forget to think about personal items such as laptop bags and drinks bottles. Consider whether your cargo requires any special provisions, for example, if it includes hazardous waste, cylinders or samples.”

There are lots of questions you can ask yourself to ensure that your journey is as efficient, safe and environmentally friendly as possible, but the first of these should always be ‘Do I even need to drive?’