Brake checking — when the driver in a lead vehicle intentionally brakes hard to cause the driver in the following vehicle to swerve, take another evasive action, or collide with them from behind — is a growing issue on the roads. The practice of brake checking, which many consider a form of road rage, makes already hazardous road conditions even more dangerous for many drivers. This fact is especially true for people behind the wheel of large commercial vehicles and trucks. In some countries, it can result in fines and penalty points on a driver’s license for a person who performs a brake check.
As a fleet manager, what can you do to address brake checking to help keep your drivers — and the motorists on the roads with them — safe? Some methods include installing dash cameras in fleet vehicles and holding driver training courses on the dangers of brake checking someone (in addition to other dangerous driving behaviors) and ways they can prevent hard braking. However, another effective way to combat brake checking with fleet vehicles is to use global positioning system (GPS) technology.
Here are some of the ways that GPS tracking for fleet management can help to keep everyone safe on the roads:
Use GPS Tracking to Monitor Driving Behavior
Drivers who frequently brake hard are jeopardizing their safety as well as the safety of those around them. This is not only a sign of dangerous driving behavior, but it’s also a risk to the reputation of your fleet.
Tailgating is a surefire way of getting someone to brake check. Brake checking a tailgater is a frequently seen event on the roads. However, it is also a highly dangerous practice because:
- It can result in the tailing vehicle striking the vehicle in front of it;
- The trailing vehicle may swerve to avoid a collision and may lose control or hit another vehicle; or
- It can result in serious injury or death to your fleet vehicle driver or other motorists.
GPS tracking can be used to track more than just the locations of vehicles that are equipped with GPS tracking devices. Many of these modern tracking solutions enable a fleet manager to monitor and track driving behavior in real time and receive automated reports for each vehicle.
Some of the behaviors that you can monitor include:
- Driving speed
- Rapid acceleration and deceleration
- Hard braking and stopping distance
- Turning motions
Use the Tracking Data to Address Dangerous Behaviors
When you operate a vehicle fleet, it means that your vehicles are almost always on the road — whether it’s city driving, highway travel, or both. This reality means that there is an increased risk that at least one of your vehicles may get into an accident. This is particularly the case for large truck drivers.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration:
“Roughly 475,000 large trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds are involved in crashes which result in approximately 5,360 fatalities and 142,000 injuries each year. Of the fatalities, about 74 percent were occupants of other vehicles (usually passenger cars), 3 percent were pedestrians, and 23 percent were occupants of large trucks. The unsafe actions of automobile drivers are a contributing factor in about 70 percent of the fatal crashes involving trucks.”
Analyzing the GPS fleet management tracking data enables you to address dangerous driving behavior before it results in an accident, injury, or the death of a driver. If a trucker is frequently hard braking during trips, it may mean that they are:
- Following too closely to other vehicles
- They may be distracted or otherwise not paying attention, or
- Their vehicle may require maintenance to increase stopping time.
The data that you receive from GPS tracking can help you make informed decisions as well as provide more tailored driver safety training to your drivers.
Track All Preventative Maintenance for Fleet Management
One of the best ways to keep your drivers safe is to ensure that they are operating vehicles that are in good working order through preventative maintenance. Checking fluid levels, replacing worn out brake pads, and other related tasks are important to the performance of your vehicle and driver safety. These actions can help to identify brake line leak and brake failure causes before they become an issue.
Heavy braking can drastically affect the performance and efficiency of a vehicle’s brake system and can cause damage. Furthermore, brake checking and hard braking also can take a toll on a vehicle’s tires, wearing down the treads and reducing the performance and life of the tires.
However, tracking and managing regular preventative maintenance for each individual fleet vehicle can be challenging when you have a lot of fleet vehicles. Some GPS tracking devices are able to interface with your fleet vehicles’ on-board diagnostics systems to provide remote performance reports and diagnostics.
Rastrac is a worldwide leader in GPS tracking and fleet management solutions. Rastrac tracking solutions can be found in a variety of fleet vehicle industries ranging from heavy equipment, to commercial shipping, to public safety, to government and municipalities. We track more than $1.5 billion in vehicle and equipment assets for clients globally.
Learn more about how you can use GPS tracking data to increase the safety of your fleet as well as its overall fleet efficiency. Download our free resource by clicking on the image below.