As one of the headline sponsors of Road Safety Week 2022, we’d like to draw attention to electric vehicles (EVs), as these cars and vans are now making their ways into fleets in very large numbers. They are a great step towards lowering emissions, however at this point in time, perhaps not enough attention has been given to the ways in which drivers need to adapt to their capabilities and make best use of their enhanced safety features while driving.
Many EVs are fitted with a range of advanced road safety devices – from city braking to lane departure systems. Drivers should familiarise themselves with these safety features, looking at both their capabilities and how they can alter vehicle performance. Many of these features can help prevent crashes and save lives, but remember that, as a driver, you are responsible at all times for the control of your vehicle.
One of the first things most drivers notice about their new EV experience is that the vehicles are much quieter than petrol or diesel equivalents, and also often ‘much torquier’. This can mean you find yourself accelerating more quickly and travelling at higher speeds than you may at first realise.
Pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders may also not hear you approaching so it's essential that drivers take extra care, passing slowly and allowing extra space, to help keep everyone safe.
EVs also use something called regenerative braking, which helps to recover energy for the battery as the car slows. This is a similar characteristic to engine braking, however an EV uses kinetic and heat energy which is transferred back to the battery to help retain charge. Depending on the level of ‘regen braking’ used, brake lights will come on and can be triggered after cruise control is turned off. Drivers need to familiarise themselves with the new technology as they take the wheel of an EV.
Our EV driver training toolkit is available for our customers and supports the development of safer driving techniques. It was developed with eDriving.
Increasing awareness of Highway Code changes
A second development that influences road safety is the recently revised Highway Code. Changes have been made in response to a public consultation, which saw over 20,000 suggestions from the public, businesses and other organisations, which are designed to match road behaviour to a modern roadscape full of electric-scooters, deliveries on electric bikes, horse riders and even potentially driverless vehicles.
Most of the major alterations have been made across six key areas – a new hierarchy of road users, giving way on the road, turning into a junction, slow traffic rules, driving on roundabouts and using your horn. Our view is that all fleets need to make their drivers aware of these new expectations covering on-road behaviour and we have also created a toolkit to help you and your fleet drivers.
Fleet risk management should be a year-round endeavour
Of course, fleet risk management is not just about Road Safety Week, but should be an all-year-round endeavour. At Arval UK, we have many different ways of making your fleet safer and easier to manage. It’s a subject about which we are deeply passionate about. To find out more, go to www.arval.co.uk.
By Ian Pearson, Head of Insured Lease, Arval UK