Driving can be a huge cost for businesses but there are ways to help keep those costs down.
Planning your journey carefully can help you avoid congestion and get to your destination as efficiently as possible. See our advice on planning a journey for more information.
Safety on the road
As a business driver, you may cover a very high mileage. While this gives you a lot of driving experience, it also puts you at more risk than many other drivers so you need to be aware of how you can stay safe on the road.
Your employer has a responsibility to keep you safe. This includes
- not asking you to use a mobile phone while you’re driving
- not putting pressure on you to drive too fast in order to meet deadlines
- not requiring you to drive for too long or too far, which could lead to you driving when you’re too tired to do so safely.
If you feel that your employer is putting you at risk, it’s your responsibility to speak to them about it: do not ignore the problem.
One of the biggest issues for business drivers is their mobile phone because they may use it to keep in touch with the office, make appointments or speak to customers while they’re driving. Using a phone while you’re driving is against the law as it’s very distracting. If you need to make or answer a call, stop and park safely first.
Keeping your car running efficiently will help keep you on the road and avoid breakdowns and delays. Make sure you check your vehicle each day before you start your journey.
Reducing business travel
Cutting down the amount of business travel can help to reduce costs and the damaging effects of travel on the environment. It can also reduce the amount of stress felt by employees and help them to be more productive.
Think about whether your business could benefit from
- flexible working, including home working, to reduce the number of journeys or the journey time to your site
- using technology such as video conferencing
- encouraging people to walk or cycle
- encouraging people to use public transport or to share a car.
If you cannot avoid driving, you can at least drive smarter. Use these tips to reduce the cost and stress of your journey.
- Drive smoothly and avoid stop–go driving: watch the cars ahead so you can avoid sharp acceleration and braking.
- Do not coast downhill or when you’re braking. Ease off the accelerator gently and use the engine to brake the car.
- Change gear smoothly and before you reach 2,000 rpm. Always drive in the right gear for the speed and road conditions.
- Start your car and drive off straight away – leaving it to ‘warm up’ wastes fuel and is not necessary.
- If you’re stationary for more than a couple of minutes, turn the engine off.
- Get rid of any extra weight such as roof racks or clutter in the boot.
- Plan your route and check for roadworks. If you get lost, ask for directions to avoid driving further than you need.
- Do not race: it’s best to take time and arrive safely rather than drive too fast and take risks.
What to do if your vehicle breaks down
Always plan your journey and make sure you have enough fuel before you join a motorway, to help avoid breaking down on the motorway. If your vehicle does break down, it’s important you know what to do to keep you and other road users safe. See our other advice on what to do if your vehicle breaks down.