The safest journey is the one not taken. Since we all need to travel, however, pre-planning a trip can ensure a safe arrival.
Shell Canada’s Journey Management Plan is a set process the company has put in place for drivers to follow when planning and undertaking road trips. The goal is simple: to arrive safely.
Every country and company will operate under different standards, but as a general rule, it is wise to put in place a plan for longer trips, explains Marcus Bassett, Account Manager, Commercial Fleet Canada, Western Region for Shell Canada.
“The Journey Management Plan is a process Shell has for all drivers anytime they are traveling 4.5 hours or more,” he says “They will do a pre-plan of what their route looks like, identify any potential hazards that might be on it, and schedule for things like construction zones and rest stops to check messages because we don’t use our phones while driving.”
Bassett says safety is an integral part of everything Shell does. “We are very committed to our goals here. We want to have zero incidents, so it’s a big part of our company culture, and Shell employees have a full buy-in into the program.”
Planning also lowers stress. “I find it gives you an opportunity to plan your route and not have to worry about any stresses that may come along,” Bassett adds. “For example, if you know there is going to be construction, when you hit it, you are not as perturbed because you were able to anticipate it.”
Fatigue is one of the most obvious consequences of poor journey planning and is a major contributing factor in road traffic incidents. A good Journey Management Plan will take into account all the factors that will minimize a driver’s chances of feeling sleepy while driving.
When done right, a plan should be simple to put in place, and should quickly become part of your drivers’ everyday routine. The more often they use it, the easier it will be for them to follow through. By planning journeys more carefully, they will be more likely to stay fresh and vigilant at the wheel, safeguarding their safety and the safety of others.
Simple steps to safety
Consider each element of your journey before you set off:
- Define your route
- Make sure you can stay in communication
- Plan your rest periods and locations
- Think about the timing of your journey and how busy roads will be
- Identify black spots/route hazardous spots
- Consider the route options – different types of roads
- Check the road and weather conditions
- Identify high-risk locations such as schools
- Personal welfare – keep hydrated with non-caffeine drinks
- Time your journey and allow extra time to account of unexpected delays
- Schedule your journey carefully to avoid night driving and those times of day when falling asleep is most likely (2 am – 6 am)
- Take into account road hazards and weather conditions
- Adhere to the legal restrictions on driving times and distances
- Plan when and where to take rests
- Allow for unexpected delays
- Take plenty of drinks with you so that you stay hydrated
- Know what to do in case of an emergency