Ever notice how we worry about the wrong things? We worry about far off and distant dangers such as terrorism but aren’t bothered by common dangers like car crashes?
Yet by the numbers driving is the most likely to kill you while abroad, far more common than kidnapping. Or victim of terrorist attack.
Yet It’s perfectly reasonable to focus on the crime and terrorism worldwide. You’re hard wired that way. Your brain is designed to be wary of new things, things that might be a danger, things that are unfamiliar.
And the 24-hour news cycle is complicit and amplifies your fears.
Next thing you know you are in a full lather and your worry that your employees might be unsafe, your company is responsible for them and you haven’t done enough to protect them.
If your listen to some security ‘experts’ you might think that you think your CEO will be kidnapped and ransomed for some ungodly sum of money.
All the while there is a real danger is lurking, ready to snatch your CEO in a moment notice…. It’s not a kidnapping, it’s a car crash or a heart attack.
Of course you didn’t know that people were manipulating you and your inborn fear of unfamiliar dangers. The most rational option is to use data to identify what you should worry about.
You should worry about driving in developing countries, especially Mexico the Philippines, Dominican Republic, India and China and Costa Rica. These six countries are frequent destinations for US citizen and also have the dubious distinction of unusually high per capita deaths due to car crashes.
These are the places your employees are most likely to die in a car crash while traveling. These are the places the data tell you to spend your resources to protect your employees.
What can be done to minimize car crashes while abroad?
To increase car safety your company can implement several ways to minimize unsafe driving
- Hire professional drivers for your employees. There is no sense having a sleep deprived, jet lagged valuable team member at the wheel when, for very little cost, you can hire a reputable, wide-awake professional driver who is familiar with local road conditions.
- Insist that all vehicles have seat-belts and have regular safety inspections.
- Insist upon the driver obeying the speed limits. If needed you can even pay the driver to ‘slow down so I can take some photos’ or pay a bonus to drivers who stay under the speed limit.
- Avoid nighttime travel. Unlit, poorly paved roads are very dangerous at night. This danger increases substantially in less less developed countries.
- Ban texting or talking on the phone while driving. Everywhere.
It’s easy to see why people have trouble with car crashes while abroad.
On my recent trip to China it was rare to find a seatbelt in any taxis. Even in Beijing. Even in Shanghai. Although the roads are improving, we had our share of hair raising ‘near misses’, scary enough to make you take stock of your life, while being ferried around in taxis.
What are you waiting for?
When you are working with your travel management team and your traveling employees be sure they understand the importance of auto safety.
Remember, your goal is to keep the team healthy and safe. Focus on a safety and security plan which addresses likely safety risks. Safety risks the data call out as important.
Spending time on a plan which makes you feel better but ignores the remediable risks associated with the car is wasted money. Instead I suggest you spend the time to evaluate where your traveling employees are most vulnerable on the road. Find ways to improve the safety of their transportation.
If you do that you will keep the team safe and spend money in all the right places.
It’s time to start re-evaluating your travel policies. What can you do to improve the safety and security of your traveling employees?
If you need help evaluating your current travel safety plan feel free to contact me. I’d be glad to help you figure out what makes sense for your organization.