General advice and information on vehicle safety can be found on the FCO website and specific information on road travel can often be found under the headings of individual countries.
Below are a few additional points specific to driving offsite and overseas:
Information on operation of College vehicles may be found on the Finance Department webpages under Motor Vehicles.
Driving your own vehicle
If you are driving your vehicle it must comply with all legal and insurance requirements. Please read the relevant section in the College COP relating to business insurance. If you do not have the correct insurance cover, your insurer can refuse to honour any claims.
Hired motor vehicles
Refer to the relevant sections in the College COP for Driving on College business. Hire from a reputable company and do not automatically select the cheapest option. Where possible hire from a company in the UK and collect the vehicle overseas. This will help ensure that you obtain the proper insurance for the host country and that your driving licence is valid.
Ensure that the vehicle is road worthy and legal. It must have functional seat belts and ideally air bags and ABS. You should also check the extent of the insurance cover, it may be restricted to the legal minimum for the country in question and you may need to top-up. For those intending to engage in off-road driving, the RGS operate a Land Rover Driver Training course.
The vehicle should be appropriate for the task. For example if the terrain is going to be rough and not on paved surfaces then consider a 4x4.
Motor cycles, motor cycle taxi’s, tuk tuk’s, and Quad bikes
The use of motor cycles, trikes and quad bikes including “tuk tuk” style taxi services for college business should only be considered where there is no viable car or 4x4 alternative. Motor cycles, trikes and Quads carry an increased risk of serious harm to the operator and passenger in the event of an accident. In certain countries with poor road conditions and low driving standards the risk is even greater. A type approved motorcycle helmet MUST be worn at all times and where practical appropriate protective clothing. Flip flops or similar flimsy footwear is not suitable. As a minimum robust leather shoes should be worn, ideally leather boots to protect the foot and ankle. If you drive these vehicles you MUST be in possession of the appropriate licence and insurance for the host country.
Even if a taxi or mini cab is sourced from a trusted or recommended company, you are getting into a stranger’s car. You must take sensible precautions including those issued by the service provider. This includes:
- Use the taxi company’s formal methods for booking the service.
- Try not to travel alone, always share a ride with a colleague where possible.
- Know precisely where you want to go and the route that should be taken
- Check that the vehicle and driver are the ones you ordered. Check the firm, the drivers licence and his name, appearance and ID all match.
- DO NOT get in the front seat, always ride in the back.
- Make sure that the driver knows you are in touch with a friend or colleague, even if you make a fictitious call. Say where you are, who your driver is and when you are expected to arrive.
- Do not share any personal contact information with the driver. This includes phone numbers, other details about your trip plans or accommodation.
- If there is a dispute, be polite but firm.
- If you are concerned about the driver’s behaviour ask to stop and be let out as soon as it is safe to do so. If they refuse do not remain silent. Contact the emergency services immediately, activate any personal security help devices or apps and contact a friend or colleague. If you are sat in the rear of the vehicle it makes it difficult for the driver to prevent you doing this.
Hitch hiking is prohibited as a method of transport other than in an emergency.
Driving and lone working
It is College Policy that all lone working is avoided where reasonably practical to do so. This includes driving as part of a work related activity. Where it is necessary the risk must be assessed and appropriate control measures implemented.
Vehicle breakdown cover
It is strongly advised that vehicles used for work related activities have breakdown cover with one of the leading roadside assistance agencies relevant to the location and country in which they are working.
Satellite navigation systems can be used to aid navigation in GB and Europe. They have their drawbacks but when used sensibly they can prevent staff getting lost and help them keep their eyes on the road not on a map on the passenger seat.
Drivers should be aware that it is illegal in the UK to use a mobile phone while driving or riding a motorcycle. This includes texting, accessing smart phone apps and even holding it while driving. It also includes while queuing in traffic, stopped at traffic lights and when supervising a learner driver. It should be noted that there is an offence of driving without due care and attention. If the police think that you are distracted by using any device including hands free telephone devices, satellite navigation or the car radio and not in control of your vehicle you could be penalized.
Where possible turn off your mobile phone whilst driving. Please refer to the College COP.
If a PI is allowing someone to drive their own or a hire vehicle for work related activities other than commuting to their regular place of work they need to be satisfied that the drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people.
Do they have the relevant previous experience for example off road driving, driving abroad or driving left hand drive vehicles?
Does the job require anything more than a current driving licence, valid for the type of vehicle to be driven?
Has the validity of the driving licence and insurance been checked?
Are at-work drivers and supervisors aware of ICL policy on Driving at Work, and do they understand what is expected of them?
If you plan to be the driver of a vehicle outside of the UK then you must obtain country-specific guidance on the expected road conditions, regulations and other requirements.
Basic boat handling
All staff considering driving powered or sail boats during offsite activities must obtain appropriate training. The Royal Yachting Association run courses from approved training centres around the UK.
Travel by river and sea
General advice and information can be found on the FCO website under the River and sea safety including piracy link and specific information on river and sea travel can often be found under the headings of individual countries.
Anyone working on boats, such as fishing boats or survey vessels, should establish from their hosts what level of induction is provided and what PPE is available and what is required for the activity. Any work on the water may require the use of a lifejacket or buoyancy aid depending on the circumstances. You may also require additional specialist clothing such as a survival suit. This aspect of the work should be considered in the risk assessment. Points to consider will include the risks from the work, dangerous equipment, and the size of the vessel, the environmental conditions, weather, and crew competency.
All staff working on boats should be able to swim.
Boat work is inherently hazardous and requires an experienced boat handler and in the UK preferably qualified to RYA 2 standard for powered craft, and Day Skipper for sail.
Safe Navigation in rivers requires knowledge of the weather, charts, buoys, lights and boat handling. If working off a boat anchors should be ready for use.
Rail/ train/ tube
- Know the train departure time to avoid hanging around on the platform for extended periods of time.
- Know the journey time and expected arrival time. This will ensure you get off at the right stop and is important information for planning your collection at your destination.
- Check for delays before you travel as you may need to make new arrangements for collection at your destination and keep your colleagues informed of your journeys progress.
- Plan your arrival so that you can and get off the train and walk with confidence to your next location.
- If you are mobility impaired pre-arrange with the rail service provider for any assistance that you might need.
- If you are part of a group make sure everyone is aware of the plans for onward travel upon arrival at your destination, share telephone numbers, and arrange where to meet just in case someone gets separated.
- Try to avoid travelling alone, where possible travel with a trusted colleague.
- Be aware, look about you, and do not listen to headphones as these can reduce your perception of your surroundings.
- Look confident about your actions
- Keep your possessions close to you and visible at all times.
- Make sure that your valuables are kept out of sight.
- When you board, choose a carriage where you feel comfortable.
- If you feel unsafe or threatened move to another carriage, inform the train guard where available. If the situation requires it, initiate your offsite work emergency plan, activate your personal security devices or apps, contact the local security services and your friends or colleagues.
- Where possible always sit in an area covered by CCTV
- Protect your privacy. DO NOT display personal details on a mobile phone, luggage label, document, or laptop.
- Note where the emergency alarm and alternative exits are located.
- Do not fall asleep
- Do not travel while intoxicated as this makes you an easier target for criminals and may be a criminal offence.
- Choose a parking bay close to an exit, in a well-lit area, covered by CCTV.
- Before leaving your vehicle, ensure that it is securely locked and that valuables are hidden.
- Do not leave keys or personal details in the vehicle.
- If you take a taxi from the station please refer to the advice on Taxi’s below.
Travel by air
As with road travel, choose reputable airlines and check for information on the FCO website on air travel under the heading of the country you intend to visit.
Some carriers have been prohibited by the CAA and the European equivalent from operating in UK and European air space, due to safety concerns. You should consider this when planning onward flight connections. You should also consider flight routes and where the carrier overflies. For example, you would want to avoid flying over war zones where the combatants are known to have access to sophisticated modern anti-aircraft ground to air missile batteries.