How to Survive and Thrive Doing Courier Work
Posted: Feb 17, 2014
Engaging in courier work can be fraught with risks; you are always out there on the road, day in day out, regardless of the traffic conditions and weather. But while we cannot completely make risks disappear, there are a few things a responsible driver can do to manage them.
Assume You Are ‘Invisible’
When you regularly engage in courier work, so-called survival skills become second nature. But the importance of safety and well-being for those in this type of job cannot be overstated, especially for those who have been doing this for a long time. Basically, experienced drivers say that, to always be on the safe side, you should never assume other drivers on the road can actually see you. Most accidents happen because we cross the road or get in front of someone else assuming the driver of the other vehicle can see us, without knowing that they may be momentarily distracted (he or she might be trying to flip a switch or calling someone on the phone). To make a sense of safety second nature to delivery workers, they must always assume that they are not seen and should proceed with caution, accordingly. Long-time drivers can also develop a sharp sense of whether other drivers on the road are safety hazards based on their subtle body (or vehicle) language and demeanour.
Be Aware of the Season-related Risks
Anyone who has carried out courier work throughout the different seasons may already know about something the newbies do not: season-dependent road hazards. For example, winter is a no-brainer: a layer of snow, particularly the slick kind of snow cover, is extremely dangerous, especially for two-wheeled vehicles. One little rock or the slightest miscalculation can cause a pile-up. Moreover, as one long-time worker asserts, there are days when it’s so humid or hot that women tend to wear mini-skirts - the sight of which does tend to distract male drivers. One moment they’re looking at a secretary in a nice sundress, the next moment they’re in the back of a van, feet up. Seriously, though, awareness of the local weather and the changes in the city’s urban landscape or mood can help a transport professional stay as safe as possible.
Don’t be Afraid of Technology
Many unofficial members of the so-called old guard—those who have been doing courier work since long before the emergence of nifty handheld gadgets and the Internet—tend to frown upon high-tech tools. They tend to prefer to trust their senses and gut-feelings more than any alloy-encased blinking thingamajig manufactured in some little-known country. But believe us—you need to know your way around a map if you’re just starting out; nothing can bring you up to speed faster than a good GPS-enabled mobile gadget. Thankfully, even the most amazing mobile navigational tool can be free these days. Google’s set of free apps for Android-equipped gadgets offer great functionality for starters, and they are very easy to use.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 2,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
Writer and Online Marketing Manager in London.