<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=737313050390762&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

The ABC’s of Defensive Driving

The ABC's of Defensive Driving

This blog was updated on December 15, 2021.

What happens when one of your drivers has an accident? Best case scenario: you lose a lot of money. Worst case scenario: you lose even more money and somebody gets hurt or killed.

The fact is, even a minor accident like clipping a mirror increases your cost of loss. That’s why you need to teach defensive driving techniques for truck drivers. You can prevent accidents, protect your people, and reduce your cost of loss.

How often should you do safety training?

How Accidents Happen

Accidents happen when people take too much risk.

Let’s use a common example. A driver is running late on a delivery so he speeds up and tailgates the guy in front of him. He expects this will get him to the customer on time. Instead, traffic stops suddenly and he hits the guy in front of him. The load never makes it, everyone on the highway is late for work, you lose money, and someone might even be hurt.

Pop quiz: What caused the rear-end collision? Traffic stopping suddenly? Of course not. Your driver caused the accident because he was following too closely.

The fact is, accidents are always caused by people and their unsafe behaviors. This is actually good news. If accidents are caused, they can be prevented.

How Accidents Can Be Prevented

If accidents are caused by people and their unsafe behavior, that means we need to reduce unsafe behaviors. Less unsafe behaviors mean fewer accidents. The problem is, without defensive driving training, your drivers will perform unsafe behaviors all the time.

You need to teach your drivers how to drive defensively and prevent accidents. Yes, they went to school or studied in order to get their CDL. Yes, you likely gave them some sort of behind-the-wheel training. But no, it’s not enough. Your drivers still have accidents.

If you want to reduce your accidents, you need to implement the following processes at your company:

  • Teach the basics of defensive driving
  • Implement online, self-directed training
  • Ongoing monthly defensive truck driving training

Download eBook: How to Choose a Defensive Driver Safety Program

The Basics of Defensive Driving

Earlier, we said unsafe behaviors cause accidents. While that’s true, the problem is, there are thousands of unsafe behaviors that could cause an accident. That means there are thousands of safe behaviors that prevent accidents.

It can be difficult to teach your drivers everything they need to know in order to prevent accidents. That’s why we recommend you teach basic principles to defensive driving. Our clients use LLLC: The Four Principles to Driving Safely.

LLLC stands for Look Ahead, Look Around, Leave Room, and Communicate. Every safe, defensive driving behavior fits into one of these four categories.

If you’re interested in teaching your drivers LLLC, check out our instructor and driver certification. Companies who implement our certification process will have a 20% reduction in accidents or more.

Online Training

When you hire a driver, you’re hiring all of their unsafe driving habits. Believe us when we say CDL prep school isn’t enough to make safe drivers. Even a clean driving record isn’t enough to predict if a driver will or will not cause an accident.

You need an easy way to ensure all new hires know basic defensive driving techniques. Many companies choose online, self-directed training to fill this need.

Online, self-directed training consists of interactive modules, units, and courses that your drivers take at their own pace and on their own time. Most courses are accessed through what’s called a learning management system (LMS).

When you use online, self-directed learning for your new hires, you benefit from:

  • A reduction in accidents from new drivers
  • Your training being easily accessible by all employees
  • Tracking, reporting, and assigning training all from one portal

Here are some important topics to cover:

  • Distracted driving and attentive driving
  • Intersection safety
  • Following distance
  • Large vehicle dynamics
  • Construction zones and other hazardous settings
  • Driving in bad weather and bad road conditions
  • Navigating blind spots

Our program A-Fleet can give you all that and more. Learn more here.

A word to the wise: shop for online training with caution. Many low-cost options have no videos, offer poor outcomes, and will put your people to sleep. Stick with programs like A-Fleet that are professionally produced and guaranteed to work.

Monthly Training

The first two topics we covered teach your new drivers how to prevent accidents. However, it’s not just new hires you need to worry about. Even your veteran drivers are at risk of causing an accident.

Think of it this way. How much do you remember from freshman year math class? Can you solve a quadratic equation? Probably not. It works the same way with safety training. If you don’t use it, you lose it. And if you don’t re-train drivers on it, they will forget it.

You should host monthly safety meetings (online or in-person) covering the most important safety topics at your company. We recommend you focus on one topic per month that is a loss-leading indicator. In other words, focus on the unsafe behaviors that cause your most common and costly accidents.

If you’re not sure what those are, here’s a list to get you started:

  • Navigating intersections
  • Performing safe turns
  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Per-trip and post-trip inspections
  • Load securement
  • Hazard Communication (if applicable)

Implementing Driver Training at Your Company

You, your company, your drivers, and everyone on the road are at risk for serious accidents and injuries. You can take action to reduce these risks.

If you teach defensive driving techniques for truck drivers, you can benefit from:

  • A reduction in accidents and injuries
  • More profits and less cost of loss
  • A more efficient operation

Accidents can be prevented. Take action to protect your people.LLLC Demo


Related Articles