Are your commercial satnavs good enough?

A good satnav can make journeys more straightforward and efficient. However, poor route planning using subpar satnavs also played a key role in the number of bridge strike incidents spanning the period 2020-2021. If your fleet drivers want to ensure safe driving and vehicle compliance, it’s essential that their satnav is up to scratch.


Why is a good satnav important?

Improper use of satnavs can affect drivers, the operator they’re working for, and other road users.

In addition to bridge strikes in 2020-2021, there were cases of commercial vehicles failing to recognise weight limits or using inappropriate routes. This caused damage to road surfaces while putting other road users at risk.

There have been incidents where drivers have had their HGV licenses revoked and the operator permanently shut down. As such, it’s in the best interest of operators to ensure their satnav equipment is fit for purpose.

To be clear, choosing and using high-quality satnav equipment is not enough on its own. The right satnav technology must be married with an effective route planning process. That said, choosing technology that’s fit for purpose will help reduce the likelihood of an incident when making amendments to a route.


How to avoid making poor route planning decisions

Failure to adhere to the rules could lead to both driver and operator being summoned to appear in front of a traffic commissioner — an event that’s avoidable by following the below guidelines.


Are your satnavs designed for cars?

Car satnavs aren’t designed for commercial vehicles. An HGV driver using such a device will be putting themselves — and other road users — at risk. Verifying your satnavs are suitable for commercial vehicles is important for fleet vehicle compliance. It’s also vital to ensure satnavs are up to date before planning journeys — road layouts change often.


Are your drivers satnav trained?

Ensure all your drivers have sufficient training in using commercial satnavs. This will minimise the risk of incidents. And, in the unfortunate event of an accident, this training will demonstrate you’ve taken all reasonable steps to protect them and other road users. 


Are you using Google Maps?

Keep your commercial satnavs up-to-date to prevent drivers taken riskier routes. But also get your drivers to double-check their journeys on GoogleMaps so they can spot tricky junctions or delivery points. This information could be incorporated into driver training modules and customer information packs.

Other satnav tips:

1. Create an internal satnav policy and make sure everyone has sight of the document, even non-drivers. You may wish to run an internal briefing session to bring teams up to speed. Make sure participants sign to confirm they’ve attended and understand the importance of adhering to the policy.

2. If  a driver’s vehicle is out of action the route must still be plumbed into their satnav. Also emphasis to your teams that taking shortcuts back to base is risky – even if they’ve finished a job or are returning for maintenance.

3. Double-check and log the height, width, and weight of all your vehicles. Provide height conversion charts to help your drivers too.

4. Drivers should take care to understand road restrictions on every journey they undertake.


Don’t leave fleet vehicle compliance to chance – make DriverCheck part of your digital toolkit

Protect your business by using our legal and fully compliant management tool which makes managing your drivers easier by ensuring they comply with all legal requirements.

From online driving license and vehicle document checks to ensuring grey fleet drivers have fit-for-purpose vehicles, we’re here to help. Contact us to learn more and a member of our team will get in touch to learn about your requirements.