I became an executive chauffeur following the poor experiences I had in the past when I was travelling in the back of cars with other people driving, during my previous career in corporate.
This propelled me to offer a very different way of travelling where we actually guarantee that travel with us will be safe and comfortable in the knowledge that we are legal and reliable. This means that our clients have a stress free journey with us every time.
So, I thought I without trying to state the obvious, what does it mean to be safe, and then in future articles, I will elaborate into being comfortable, legal and then finally reliable. There will be some points made along the ay that are actually not the obvious, so it will be worth while checking in on these articles. I quite literally, hope you enjoy the ride of this mini series!
The Safety Guarantee
Can we really guarantee safety, when we all hear about road traffic accidents just about every day? In the news recently as I write this, is the Duke of Edinburgh who was involved in a motor accident, so none of us are without risk.
What I can say, is that as far as is in our chauffeurs control, we will drive in a way that does guarantee your safety.
Even when we walk down a street, we cannot guarantee that we will not be hit by a flying object, or anything else - so I think we have the correct perspective on the subject.
Yes, driving safely does come back to the Advanced and Masters driving qualifications that currently myself and all our future executive chauffeurs are required to have. In fact, our wedding car chauffeurs have all qualified as Advanced Drivers. Although some of this very different driving style is also common sense, it is good to describe how our chauffeurs drive, whether for wedding car service or for that which I am focussing on more in this article, our executive chauffeur service.
Fit to Drive
Whenever you agree to travel with us, you can be assured that none of our chauffeurs will have taken any alcohol at all within 24 hours of driving for you. This is more than the legal requirement, which permits driving as long as the driver is below certain limits. We believe that our clients deserve more respect and looking after so we operate a zero tolerance rule on alcohol without exception.
Additionally, our chauffeurs will not have drinks for use by them while they are driving and they will not eat food whilst driving. We ensure that they are focused on their driving and not the crumbs they are dropping etc.
Being a chauffeur requires us to be driving at all times both day and night, so one obvious question is how to stay awake and alert when driving through the early hours of the morning at night time. I have already written an article about his entitled “How to be fresh as a daisy when night driving”, but needless to say, we only take on work when we know we will have enough time to plan sleep before and after night driving.
Mobile phones will not only be on silent but will also be disconnected from the car system, so they are not distracted. No phone calls will be made when they have clients on board.
One of the key training skills learnt during the Advanced and Masters qualifications is observation. This includes checking what is going on in the road at the limit point of vision (explained in my earlier article “So, What's in the Masters?”) and also in the immediate vicinity. It also, includes having 180 degree vision, so constantly scanning not only ahead but also from side to side as well as behind. This ensures that very little can take the chauffeur by surprise, if anything at all. Therefore, braking can be a gradual and planned experience instead of a sudden reaction.
The training our chauffeurs receive, is to learn the safe stopping distances, which are listed below from The Highway Code:
Above 70 mph, you guessed it, our chauffeurs do not do that, as the maximum speed is 70 mph in the UK!
The above stopping distances are those recommended in dry conditions, whereas wet weather requires double the above and ice significantly more!
I am also aware that the above guidelines were written before ABS and other braking aids, but safety is about erring on the side of caution and reducing the risk of an incident wherever possible, after all, how valuable is someones life !
The best grip on the road when braking is always going to be when travelling in a straight line, so our chauffeurs will plan to slow down to the correct speed to take the hazard, whether a corner or otherwise, before entering that hazard. This ensures that there is minimal risk of a skid happening with the potential of losing control.
Naturally, this is even more important during adverse weather conditions. If a situation arises during mid-corner braking, our chauffeurs will brake progressively to avoid locking the wheels - this is a skill where our chauffeurs will actually feel for the moment to release the brake pressure before the wheels lock up.
Due to the amount of miles done in a month, averaging 4,000, it is necessary for us to check the tyres condition which also includes the tread depth and tyre pressures. This is done several times a week when we are very busy and at the very least every time we refuel. This ensures that the grip on the road is the best it can be, and therefore stability on the road is good.
Courtesy to Clients
Although I am sure this topic would interest our clients, how does this relate to safety I hear you ask?
Quite simply, it is about the little touches, so for instance, our chauffeurs as they welcome you, they will open the car doors and invite you to enter, while they then load any luggage in the boot. At the end of the journey, they will say that they will ‘get’ the doors, and be the first to get out of the car and check that it is safe to open the door(s) for you, avoiding any traffic that could cause an accident.
Too often on the road, we all have noticed that some cars do not seem to have working indicators. Or could it be a functionality that many drivers are not using these days?
In any case, our chauffeurs will use indicators appropriately when switching lanes or turning off a road onto another one. This gives other road users and pedestrians the knowledge that the car is changing direction.
Even in the night and if there is little traffic, indicators will be used when changing lanes on the motorway - this at least, gives you our client, the knowledge that changing lanes was deliberate, and helps to give you confidence that our chauffeur’s attention hasn’t dropped or worse!
There are indeed many other aspects of safety, but the above are the key ones that we focus on. Nothing has been mentioned about the safety functionalities of the Jaguars that we drive. Today’s modern vehicles have many inbuilt safety features which re increasing all the time as technology develops. While our chauffeurs will use the technology available, the above mentioned are fundamental to our service and therefore, our guarantee.
Next time I will elaborate how we guarantee that you our client and passenger will be comfortable.