Avoid ‘Blue Monday’ Motoring With A Little Preparation And A Good Pinch Of Patience

Date Posted: 21/01/2019 09:55:51

Venson Automotive Solutions offers business drivers advice on stress free commuting

Monday 21st January apparently marks 2019’s ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year. Whether it’s financial worries or new year resolution frustrations, Venson Automotive Solutions is urging motorists to keep their angst off the road. Simple measures such as ensuring a car is fit for purpose, and mentally preparing to show some patience towards other road users demonstrating the blues, will go a long way to avoiding the stresses of driving this Monday.

Simon Staton, Director of Client Management, Venson Automotive Solutions comments: “When it comes to operating a safe fleet, those in charge will have many checks and systems in place to account for the vehicle and driver’s legal suitability, but what happens when state of mind becomes a threat to drivers’ safety?  Poor mental wellbeing - including stress, anxiety and depression – can have a serious impact on their ability to drive safely.  With ‘Blue Monday’ fast approaching, exacerbating the number of distracted drivers on the road, fleet managers could offer some much-needed advice.”

Blue Monday is known for being the ‘most depressing day of the year’ due to the manifestation of various factors including the weather, debt levels after Christmas and failing new year’s resolutions – it occurs on the 3rd Monday of every January.    The stress these factors can cause can severely impact a driver’s behaviour.  According to road safety charity Brake[1], drivers suffering from stress are more likely to speed and take other risks while driving and are more likely to be involved in serious crashes.  Driving related stress can arise from lack of confidence in driving ability, heavy traffic, being late to an appointment or work, being afraid of having a crash, uncertainty of the journey route and distractions such as mobile phones or satnavs.

Unlike a broken leg or fractured collar bone, it can be hard for fleet managers to recognise when an employee is struggling under the pressure of stress or other mental health problems.  Staton of Venson Automotive Solutions continues, “A duty of care policy is just one measure that can help support safe driving but others are more about the day to day management of the driver and understanding where possible pressure points may be and then identifying if there is a potential risk to the driver, the general public and the business.”

Venson’s Top Tips for Business Drivers this Blue Monday

  • Preparation is key

Before starting a journey, make sure the vehicle is prepped for the road conditions. It’s vital to check fuel, oil levels, coolant, tyres, lights and that the windscreen is clean.

  • Navigation

Avoid unnecessary stress by ensuring plenty of time has been left for the journey and, if it’s an unfamiliar route, this has been programmed into the satnav before setting off. It’s also worth checking the traffic conditions on the route ahead before setting off.

  • Busy road = busy mind

If possible, avoid driving at peak times and in congested areas as this can increase anxiety.  Giving way at busy junctions can help drivers control traffic situations and feel more at ease on the road. Giving drivers space on the road gives time to react to their actions in a timely manner. It’s also important to avoid aggressive drivers. Don’t react by braking, acceleration or swerving in retaliation as this can increase tenseness.

  • Take a load off

When driving make sure to take a 15 minute break every 2 hours and consider an overnight stay on long journeys. If driving increases stress levels, it’s always worth checking if this is the best transport option and if others are available.

Available to all fleet managers is Venson Automotive Solutions’ white paper, which looks at the connection between mental health and driver safety at work. Titled ‘It’s good to talk: caring about mental health’, the white paper looks at the causes and symptoms of stress, in relation to driving behaviour at work and dealing with productivity demands and increasing workloads. It also underlines the need for employers to consider stress and mental health as a key focus of their driver safety policy.  To download a copy simply visit https://www.venson.com/media/ViewWhitePaper/32

Venson Automotive Solutions is also hosting the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) training course, Managing Occupational Road Risk. The training course is designed to assist individuals who manage a vehicle fleet or supervise company drivers. It provides them with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage people who drive for work and gives best practice advice. The course enables delegates to understand the influence they have on safety culture and driver behaviour so they can understand the changes they can make in their organisation to help lower the risk of accidents for company drivers. For more information on the RoSPA training sessions please contact Venson Events 08444 99 1402 or email events@@venson.com

To further raise awareness and offer support to those in the fleet industry who may be suffering from stress, Venson is lending support to the Freight Transport Association’s collaboration with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, which has to put together a bespoke version of its CALM companies programme for the fleet sector.   For further information visit: https://fta.co.uk/media/press-releases/2018/october/van-excellence-launches-calm-solution-for-poor-dri

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