Tool Kit

Driving for Work

Driving for work can be dangerous. Crashes cause the most work-related traumatic deaths in BC. But nearly all of them can be prevented. Find out how the right knowledge, attitude, vehicle adjustments and driving skills can help you stay safe.

Preparing yourself

Knowledge, skills, and attitude are important for safe driving. Preparing yourself before you drive can reduce your crash risk and lessen driving stress and fatigue.

Build knowledge and skills

No matter how much you drive or how long you’ve been a driver, you’re at risk on the road. But knowing and living up to your safety responsibilities can reduce that risk. Legally, you need to take steps to keep yourself, your co-workers and others safe. This applies whether you use your own vehicle or your employer’s.

You also need to build your skills and knowledge. If you’re not confident in your driving abilities ask your supervisor for training and coaching. Ask for additional learning resources. Talk with other drivers who have more experience. Practice what you learn.

Use practice tests to build and maintain your knowledge of road signs, driving behaviours, and the rules of the road. Take ICBC’s driving knowledge practice test and apply what you learn to improve your skills.

Know and follow the rules of the road and your organization’s safe driving policies and procedures.

Develop a safety attitude

Your attitude matters when it comes to being prepared. Crashes aren’t always the fault of the other driver. Be focused, courteous, patient, and respectful when you drive.

Be sure to carry over the positive driving attitude you develop and apply at work to your personal driving. Just as you’re responsible for the safety of your co-workers, you’re equally responsible for the safety of your family and friends.

Getting ready to go

Preparing to drive starts before you put the keys in the ignition. Follow these steps to prepare for a safe trip.

Ask yourself – is this trip necessary?
Select the right vehicle
Dress for success
Eliminate potential distractions inside the vehicle
Enter and exit your vehicle carefully

Preparing your vehicle

Once you are prepared for the drive, ensure your vehicle is also ready. Adjust your seat, mirrors, head restraint, and seat belt to improve your safety and comfort. Hold your steering wheel and place your feet correctly. Making your vehicle comfortable to drive reduces stress and fatigue. It can also help you avoid injuries like back and wrist strain.

Adjust your seat

When you’re driving, you should be comfortable and able to reach the pedals, steering wheel, levers, and knobs easily.

Aim for a seating position that puts the largest amount of your body in contact with the seat. Sit in the seat, not on it. Push your lower back into the seat and sit tall to stay alert and see clearly.

Follow these instructions to adjust the seat in any vehicle you drive for work. Click the images to enlarge them.

Step 1: Set initial position
  • Set seat at lowest height and move it all the way back.
  • Recline back rest about 30 to 40 degrees from vertical.
  • Tilt seat cushion so front edge is in lowest position and ease off lumbar support adjustment.
  • Tilt steering wheel fully upwards and forward (away from you).
Step 2: Raise seat
  • Hips should be about level with knees.
  • Ensure there’s enough clearance between your head and the ceiling. If you’re craning your neck to see stoplights, your seat is set too high.
  • Use a seat cushion if needed.
Step 3: Adjust for leg reach
  • Move seat ahead until you can easily depress accelerator and brake pedals without pulling your back away from backrest.
  • Adjust seat so you can fully depress pedals and still have a slight bend in your right leg.
Step 4: Adjust seat cushion
  • Tilt seat cushion up so it contacts and supports your thighs.
  • Make sure there’s at least a 2-finger gap between back of your knee and seat.
Step 5: Adjust backrest
  • Aim to support length of your back.
  • Try for angle of 100 to 110 degrees.
Step 6: Adjust lumbar support
  • Aim to feel even pressure along length of back cushion.
  • Fine tune so there are no gaps or specific pressure points.
Step 7: Adjust steering wheel

When you grasp the steering wheel with hands and wrists straight, your elbows should be slightly bent and your shoulders should have a neutral posture (i.e., arms by side).

  • Pull wheel towards you and tilt slightly downwards to minimize reaching.
  • Position it so you have 25 to 30 cm between centre of wheel and your chest. This distance provides proper leverage and flexibility to turn wheel. It also allows air bag to properly deploy with minimal risk of injuring you. Move seat forward if vehicle doesn’t have a tilting / telescoping steering column.
  • Check for clearance. Your knees shouldn’t touch steering column or underside of dash when pressing pedals. Make sure you have a clear view of panel display.

Adjust foot position

Plant your left foot against the footrest area to the left of the brake or clutch pedal. This will brace your entire body.

This lets you work the pedals with greater accuracy and control. It also means you aren’t relying on the steering wheel for support during hard braking. This improves your ability to operate the steering wheel quickly and accurately.

Keep your right heel on the floor so you can turn your foot at the ankle to operate the pedals. Lifting your foot off the floor to apply the brakes is less effective.

Adjust head restraints

Head restraints aren’t headrests. They should support the back of your head and neck, and protect you from severe neck injuries if you’re rear-ended.

The top of the head restraint should be level with the top of your head and less than 10 cm from the back of your head. Leave enough room to turn your head without touching the restraint.

Adjust the seat to a slightly more upright position to move your head closer to the restraint.

Click image to enlarge.

Check the passenger head restraints, and adjust both the front and rear seats

Adjust mirrors

Mirrors should give you the fullest possible view with the least amount of extra effort. In a quick glance, you should be able to see vehicles beside and behind yours.

Click image to enlarge.

Here’s how to set your mirrors:

  • Rear view: Adjust it to give you a view straight out the back window while you’re sitting in the normal driving position. Don’t tilt it to help you see traffic on either side of your vehicle. That’s what the side mirrors do.
  • Driver side: Adjust it outwards so it’s just past the point at which you can see the left rear corner of your vehicle. You should not be able to see the side of your vehicle until you tilt your head to almost touch the driver’s side window.
  • Passenger side: Adjust it outwards so it’s just past the point at which you can see the right side of your vehicle. If you tilt your head towards the centre of the vehicle, you should be able to just see the right side of your vehicle.

At first, this wider-angle view from your side mirrors may seem strange. But widening your view minimizes blind spots. Have someone stand in the blind spots while you adjust your mirrors to test it. You can also try a gradual approach, adjusting the mirrors outward a little more each day.

Set the side mirrors properly so that vehicles behind you can’t shine their lights in your eyes. To further reduce glare, flip up the lever on the bottom of the rear-view mirror.

When you’re used to the new mirror settings, you’ll be able to see more and drive with more confidence.

Adjust seatbelts

A properly adjusted seatbelt is the best protection against injury in a crash. Even an extra centimetre of slack can make the difference between serious or minor injuries.

When you’re sitting passively, a correctly adjusted belt allows a bit of movement. On impact, the belt sensors lock it in place. If you find the shoulder strap uncomfortable, use shoulder strap covers or cushions.

Follow these tips for seatbelt safety:

  • Keep the lap belt snug and as low on your hips as possible.
  • Ensure the shoulder belt comes across your shoulder without cutting across your neck. In most vehicles, you can adjust the belt for proper placement and comfort.
  • Make the shoulder belt snug across your chest. If the belt has any slack, your body will gain momentum in a crash before hitting the belt, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Never wear the shoulder belt under your arm. It greatly increases risk of injury in a crash.

Adjust the interior

Maintaining a comfortable temperature and good visibility can reduce your risk of crashing.

Keep it cool
Clean windows inside and out

Keeping comfortable and safe on the road

After you prepare yourself and your vehicle for the drive, follow these tips to optimize comfort, minimize stress and maximize safety.

Grip steering wheel properly
Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road
Stretch when it’s safe
Take breaks at least every 2 hours



Road Safety Plan Template

If your employees drive at any time for work, you need to plan for their safety. Use this template to build an effective plan by answering questions with the help of our resources.

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