Is truck driver training old school? Is it no longer relevant in 2017? Hardly, but some trucking companies seem to treat it that way. In the never-ending struggle to put hot butts in cold seats, they prioritize speed over safety when onboarding drivers. Instead, they invest in technology hoping it will make the accidents go away, but they ignore the human needs of drivers.
There’s a reason why so many drivers push back against safety training. A resistance builds up from countless companies using dated material over and over again. Drivers are turned off when forced to watch the same videos of trucks, cars and clothes dating back to the days of The Dukes of Hazzard. Not only do they feel no relevance, but it’s a form of disrespect to the drivers.
Of course, some safety principles are a constant. Things like “maintain a safe following distance” or “get out and look before you back up” are timeless, but people judge a book by its cover. If it looks outdated, they shut down. That’s why training must constantly be updated. The content may be good, but the delivery might be faulty. As a result, the message is lost.
Content is King and is the Basis for Good Driver Training
Content should cover the basics in a way that is easy to memorize. The idea is to create comprehension that leads to habituated patterns of behavior. LLLC™ fits the bill. A driver can memorize Look Ahead, Look Around, Leave Room and Communicate in about 30 seconds. These four principles of driving safety quickly become routine.
But driving training should also cover the situational demands drivers face and how to avoid collisions in each one (e.g. intersections, mountain driving, lane changing and adverse conditions). These are just a few of the subjects covered in The A-Fleet.
Training Should Change Driver Behaviors
When you see a tractor trailer tailgating another driver to get them to move over, you’re seeing a failure of training. When you see a tractor trailer driving too fast for conditions on an icy road, you’re seeing a failure of training. Angry gestures? Ditto!
Finally, it’s not enough to have great content and a modern look and feel. The content has to be interesting. AvatarFleet pioneered the concept of edu-train-ment by producing training materials that actually entertain the viewers. The A-Fleet has multiple characters with bold personalities and rich back stories. A story line holds disparate subjects together to create a movie that entertains and informs.
This outcome-based curriculum is world-class in every way. It’s fresh, modern and entertaining.
There are many other programs that are available-some old, some new, some low cost-but none as effective as this one. There’s a simple test of training effectiveness. At AvatarFleet we call it the Gardner Test: if it’s not reducing accidents, it’s not working. If it’s not working, do something different.
Continuous Safety Communication
You recruited a safe driver, trained him or her to be professional in every way and, of course, you want to retain this driver for years to come. The key is engagement. Humans want to belong to a team. We want to affiliate with others who think like us, talk like us and act like us.
You can foster a team environment, improve employee engagement and promote safety all at the same time. Do this by implementing a continuous safety communication campaign. This provides a constant stream of relevant safety messages that remind drivers of the right things to do.
Safety meetings are opportunities to increase driving skills and improve your business. Use fresh ideas and entertaining materials to promote safety.