Delivery Drivers make frequent deliveries at short distances that are often in congested and busy areas. Because of this, their risk for many types of accidents can be much greater. However, these accidents are often very preventable through good defensive maneuvers. In 2015 the National Safety Council published statistics showing the three highest causes of accidents for delivery drivers were backing, intersections and rear end collisions.
1. Backing Accident
Backing is the most frequent accident but often the least severe. This type of accident causes lost time, aggravation and disruption for drivers and their employers.
- Evaluate the area upon arrival to determine if backing is needed. When possible pull into an area where you can pull in and out easily. When possible, pull through or back into a parking space.
- If backing is necessary, walk around vehicle after returning from delivery.
- Look back, check mirrors, and look at blind spots before starting to backup
- Pull out slowly and continue to check mirrors as you back.
- Scan area while backing for any vehicles or pedestrians that may have moved into the path you are backing.
2. Intersection Accident
Intersections pose many situations that lead to collisions. Other drivers often make surprising maneuvers like U-turns, wide turns, erratic turns, stop-go speeds, fast stops, slow or fast acceleration, etc. Driving defensively when approaching an intersection helps to predict other drivers’ maneuvers and prepare you to avoid them.
- Proceed slowly when approaching intersections and watch for cross traffic even if you have the right of way.
- Make sure the vehicle in front of you has cleared the intersection before making a right hand turn.
- Avoid changing lanes when driving through an intersection as another vehicle may be turning from a cross street into your lane.
- When waiting at a red light, wait 2-3 seconds and check clearances after the light turns green before proceeding through the intersection.
- Left turns can be very dangerous. Drivers approaching from the opposite direction are at higher speeds when you are stopped. Even on a green arrow, proceed slowly through the intersection. On green lights with no arrow, take extra precautions and look ahead, left, right, and then left again before moving.
- Watch for pedestrians using sidewalks and cyclists using bicycle lanes when turning or accelerating at an intersection.
3. Rear-end Accident
Distracted driving is the leading cause of rear end accidents but other contributors are speeding, tailgating, impaired driving and inclement weather. These accidents are less frequent, but often result in severe consequences. Both the driver and occupants of the vehicle in front are subject to neck, back or other injuries from the impact of rear-end collisions.
- Always follow with a minimum of 2-4 seconds behind the vehicle ahead. Increase the distance when there is inclement weather or road construction.
- Look ahead and be alert to traffic slowing or stopping before the vehicle directly in front hits their brakes.
- Avoid speeding and quick starting and stopping in heavy traffic.
- Eliminate distractions such as using a cell phone for calling or texting, adjusting the radio, checking your GPS, or any other activity that takes your attention away from driving.
Delivery drivers can take a proactive approach to accident prevention by defensive driving and utilizing these safety tips.