Fleet Driver Safety: Harsh Cornering

by Jan 18, 2021Fleet Safety1 comment

Fleet telematics tracks a number of driving behaviors to measure and monitor your fleet’s safety. Some of these behaviors, such as speeding and harsh braking, have more obvious dangers. Others, however, are often seen as unnecessarily strict tracking.

Harsh cornering is one of these less-appreciated scores.

In this blog, we’ll go over the dangers of taking corners too fast. We’ll also show you how to use your telematics and driver training to limit this behavior within your fleet.

What is considered harsh cornering?

Harsh cornering occurs when a driver takes a turn or curve too fast. This action increases the amount of force on the vehicle, putting top-heavy vehicles at risk of overturning. For telematics, harsh cornering is often indicated by high lateral acceleration or sharp changes to the data collected by the device’s accelerometer. 

Harsh cornering vs reckless cornering

Some differentiate between harsh and reckless cornering. Harsh cornering means making unsafe turns without understanding the dangers of this behavior. Reckless cornering, on the other hand, means making unsafe turns with full awareness of the risks.

Both behaviors are problematic for fleets, so we’ll be addressing them as one and the same throughout the article.

The dangers of harsh cornering

As always, better driver safety is the reason we address risky behaviors. Use these dangers to teach your team about the importance of safe cornering. For training sessions, seminars, and answering questions about telematics, this information can help keep your drivers invested in your safety efforts.

1. Overturning

For big rig fleets, this is a critical point. Harsh cornering creates intense inertia and centrifugal forces that can use the vehicle’s mass against you. Manufacturers have designed suspension systems to work with gravity and counter these forces, but it’s not always enough. If the vehicle tilts due to the force or hits soft ground or a curb, it might roll over. Rollovers are often a deadly scenario for drivers in any vehicle. At the very least, your driver will face pain, inconvenience, and serious consequences.

2. Losing control

Even if they stay upright, drivers can easily lose control of the vehicle. While tires are meant to minimize the impact of your turn’s centrifugal force, harsh cornering can overwhelm this safety system. As your tires lose traction, the vehicle may skid or slide uncontrollably. Drivers won’t regain braking, steering, or acceleration control until the vehicle slows enough to build friction between the tires and the road again.

3. Encountering obstacles

Even if your driver isn’t moving fast enough to cause one of the above situations, their reckless cornering is still a problem. When turning, you have limited visibility of the road beyond the bend. You may encounter pedestrians, other vehicles, debris, construction, and more. If you’re moving too fast, you won’t have time to stop before colliding with these obstacles.

Addressing harsh cornering

Now that you know the dangers, how can you encourage drivers to avoid them? First, remind everyone to slow down when approaching a turn or curve. Whether they’re driving a sedan or a semi-truck, lower speeds equal lower risk. 

Remind drivers to pay attention to the road, especially during a turn. If they are always ready for the unexpected, they can react faster and more effectively.

Lastly, consider investing in a fleet telematics solution. These devices automatically track problems such as harsh cornering, showing the weak spots in your safety practices. Armed with this knowledge, you can help all of your drivers make better decisions behind the wheel.

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