PLANNING YOUR DRIVE

09/03/2016

things to be aware of

Effective journey planning and good fleet management are two sides of the same coin. Check out our hints and tips for taking control of every drive, and start experiencing the benefits of increased management efficiency.

Improved efficiency

A planned drive increases efficiency at every level of your business. When you know how long your vehicles are likely to be on the road, how much fuel they are likely to use, and how often they will stop for resting or refuelling, you instantly generate a picture of how well your business is likely to function.

Rested drivers are more efficient, and safer—resulting in fewer Road Traffic Incidents (RTIs) and fewer costly repair bills or insurance claims. Fuel stops that have been factored into a route mean no extra miles as your drivers go off-course to find a fuelGenie forecourt. And known journey times allow you to deliver realistic performance promises to your clients.

Cost effectiveness

Inefficient fuel consumption costs money. Poor driving behaviour costs money. And routes that force drivers into both of these habits can be an extra drain on fleet resources.

Planning routes means sending drivers out on roads that are more likely to flow freely, at times of day when maximum traffic loads are not likely to occur. It means incorporating fuel stops at fuelGenie forecourts, at intervals likely to maintain both an efficient and safe time at the wheel, and a sensible level of fuel in the tank (see our article ‘Planning fuel stops’ for more information).

Ongoing cost effectiveness is driven by data. Combine the fuel usage data generated by your fuelGenie cards with route data delivered by satnavs or telematics to get an accurate picture of how your route planning is working. You’ll be able to see if journeys are taking too long, or costing too much, and use that information to re-plan future routes.

Reducing emissions

A planned drive is an efficient drive. Emissions tend to spike when drivers frequently speed up and slow down, or when mechanical elements of your vehicles aren’t properly looked after. Tyre pressure, for example, should be checked before every long journey. Tyres that are under-inflated by just 15 psi can cause a 6% increase in fuel consumption.

Good route planning controls emissions by giving your drivers the best possible chance of cruising at more efficient speeds. In low-speed-limit areas, fuel consumption and emissions can increase significantly. According to the AA, vehicles travelling at a steady 30mph have an average fuel efficiency of 58.15 mpg, while the efficiency of vehicles travelling steadily at 20mph drops to 52.3 mpg on average. When speed humps are introduced, the figure goes down to 30.85. Plan to avoid areas that create high emissions, and you’ll raise the fuel efficiency of your fleet at the same time as boosting your green credentials.

Risk assessment

You’re bound by law to assess the risks present in driving at work, and to act accordingly. Plans for bringing down the risks associated with work driving (which includes driving to attend meetings, or for sales purposes, as well as goods driving) also increase efficiency. By factoring in sufficient rest stops, statutory driver hours and in-house speed limits, you’ll prolong the working life of your fleet vehicles and introduce an element of predictability to journey length and cost.

A planned route makes the creation of risk assessments easier too. It’s much simpler to calculate and take acton against risk on routes that run over known distances, with known hazards.

See our article ‘ Long days on the road ’ for more information on work driving risk assessment.

What steps do you take to plan fleet journeys? Let us know on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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