Delivery drivers play a critical role in the success of businesses worldwide, across many industries. Drivers not only deliver goods to complete transactions, but they are also a key point of contact with your customers and often act as ambassadors for your brand.
With millions of people relying on safe, on-time delivery for access to groceries, restaurant meals, medications and other goods, protecting the health and safety of your drivers is both the right thing to do and vital to keeping your business operational. The following best practices can help you and your drivers stay safe.
Support healthy habits
Poor health and substance abuse can have a significant impact on driving safety. Encourage your delivery drivers to get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol and drugs and eat nutritious food.
Stress and worry can also affect driving so consider offering convenient access to mental health services, including through telemedicine, as part of your company’s healthcare package.
Delivery drivers may try to continue working when they are sick or injured if they don’t have paid leave. You can encourage your drivers to take care of themselves—and not worsen injuries or illnesses—by providing paid sick leave.
Avoid driver fatigue
Drivers are three times more likely to be in a crash if they are fatigued. Here are some tips to prevent driver fatigue:
Encourage your delivery drivers to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. People who sleep less than six hours nightly are more likely to fall asleep when driving. Note that caffeine use can affect sleep patterns and potentially worsen fatigue.
Educate your drivers to look for signs of fatigue when they’re on the road. In addition to drowsiness and yawning, signs of fatigue include drifting onto the shoulder or rumble strip; missing turns; reduced reaction time; and “highway hypnosis” (forgetting the miles you’ve just driven).
Urge drivers to pull over and take a break when they become fatigued. Stretching and movement can increase blood flow and alertness. Drivers may also take a nap of 10-45 minutes; they should wait 15 minutes after waking before getting back on the road.
Prioritize driving safety
Make sure all delivery drivers are trained in defensive driving techniques—aggressive driving may speed delivery, but it’s not worth the risk.
Provide guidelines to avoid distracted driving. Delivery drivers should only use hands-free controls for mobile phones while driving and set navigation before starting a trip.
Verify that delivery vehicles—whether belonging to your business or the driver—are in safe operating condition. Vehicles should be reliable, and headlights, signals, windshield wipers, and other components should all be in good working order.
Provide physical safety guidelines
Drivers should be trained in how to keep themselves and the goods they’re delivering safe while on the road. Some key tips are:
Park in well-lit areas and avoid driveways that require backing-up. Always lock vehicles when parked and never leave them running unattended.
Handle cash with caution by keeping it as concealed as possible, and limit how much cash you carry. Avoid making bank deposits alone.
Require customers to provide a phone number, and verify it before leaving to make a delivery. Only make deliveries at well-lit front doors—and refuse any orders that seem suspicious.
Don’t make deliveries in areas that feel unsafe—such as dark alleys or rear entrances—and avoid icy walkways or snow hazards.
Always be aware of the weather conditions such as heavy rain and floods.
Special safety steps for delivery drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic
During outbreaks of highly communicable illnesses—such as COVID-19—your drivers will be at increased risk of infection through personal contact or handling of products so additional precautions should be taken to protect them, as follows:
Clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment.
Vehicles and equipment should be routinely cleaned and disinfected, with an emphasis on frequently touched surfaces such as steering wheels, door handles and touch screens.
Wash hands often.
Encourage delivery drivers to frequently and thoroughly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. If running water and soap are not available, provide drivers with hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask and gloves.
Make sure all drivers have a facemask and gloves and wear them consistently when making deliveries and handling packages and equipment.
Don’t handle cash.
If possible, delivery drivers should avoid handling cash; there are many contactless payment methods that can be used instead.
Maintain social distancing.
Delivery drivers should stay 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people, including customers. Great care should be taken in collecting signatures; devices used to collect signatures should be sanitized after use.
Avoid busy facilities. To the greatest extent possible, drivers should avoid busy places such as high-traffic truck stops, restaurants and rest stops unless they are picking up items from these places. Then, maintain social distancing
As much as possible, find a quiet area to eat alone.
Keeping your delivery drivers safe
Best practices that can help you and your drivers stay safe.