February 26, 2021
It isn’t enough to train your drivers when you first hire them. They need to be re-trained, re-trained again, and then re-trained some more. And here’s why.
If I asked you to solve an algebraic expression for two variables, you’d probably look at me like I was crazy. However, most of us were able to easily do so when we were 16. In fact, less than half of the adults in the United States can solve a basic math problem that would be taught in middle school. The reason is simple - if you don’t use it, you lose it. And it works the same way with defensive driving for your employees. Your employees will fall into unsafe driving habits if you don’t put them through monthly safety training. That hurts your bottom line and, worse yet, that hurts people.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can utilize monthly safety meetings to keep your accident numbers down and your people safe.
If you’re doing your job right, you train new employees on essential defensive driving skills when you first hire them. They take it to heart and drive with vigilance for the first couple weeks or months on the job. However, they start to fall into bad habits sooner or later. They begin to subconsciously think driving is less risky than they once did. They take shortcuts to complete work faster. They stop paying as close of attention. This isn’t just conjecture - we know this to be true.
In AvatarFleet’s experience of working with clients in the transportation industry, new drivers cause the most accidents. However, drivers are nearly as likely to cause an accident around the seven-year mark of their career as they were when they were newbies. That’s because these drivers are so far-removed from what they learned when they first started out on the job. They are no longer steeped in defensive driving. And, because they’ve been driving so long, they reach a level of driving skill where they no longer actively think about the risks around them. It’s called automaticity. It’s the reason you get home without remembering the drive. And, it’s the same reason some of your drivers cause accidents. They’re driving on autopilot.
Monthly safety meetings solve this problem. With these meetings, all of your drivers—newbies and veterans alike—will have a renewed focus and dedication to safe driving practices. Whatever your campaign focuses on will be what your drivers focus on. Safety campaigns are a cornerstone to any company that would like to reduce its accidents.
Without monthly safety meetings, your employees are certain to fall into unsafe behaviors behind the wheel. But why are safety meetings the answer? It all comes down to mindshare.
Mindshare is a marketing term that describes the level of consumer awareness on a specific product, good, company, or even an idea. Simply put, it’s the amount of attention people pay to one thing compared to another related thing. In relation to safety, mindshare is how much thought your employees give safety compared to other job demands. For example:
Your employees mean well, but unless you make safety a focal point at your company, they won’t give it much thought.
On the other hand, when you put time, energy, and resources into safety, safety takes up more mindshare with your employees. Safety becomes a more pressing concern in their heads and, thus, they will be more likely to recall and put to use the training they had on day one. We call it “making training sticky.” It doesn’t leave their brains - it sticks around.
If you want to consistently reduce your accidents, you need to host monthly safety meetings. It’s not as simple as just saying that, of course. There are some decisions you need to make.
First, what will you be teaching in your safety meetings? You need to focus on loss-leading indicators for your company. Choose the top 5 to 10 accident-causing behaviors in your company. These are most likely a combination of:
Once you have these topics, focus on one per month throughout the year. When clients utilize this model, they’ve seen accident rates drop as much as 30% for the specific topic in that month.
With your topics decided, you need to figure out the how, when, and where of your meetings.
Ideally, these are done in person. That may not be possible today, though. You may need to use a video conference software like Zoom or Google Duo in order to conduct these meetings.
Once you have the details figured out, you need to promote it. Let all of your employees know what exactly these meetings are about, why you’re having them, and the benefits that they will derive from them. Preach why their lives will be better because of these meetings, and explain how important they are to the employees, the company, and the folks on the road.
With your topics decided, your meeting scheduled, and your employees primed to learn, you’re nearly ready to go. However, you can’t forget about one crucial aspect: educational materials for the meeting.
You need to have resources, presentations, videos, and questions prepared for your safety meeting. Of course, this can take a lot of time and effort. It might be wise to invest in an off-the-shelf training program such as our Monthly Safety Initiative.
A program such as this includes:
All of this saves you valuable time and resources while getting a superior product.
You may feel as though your accident and injury rates are out of your hands. It’s up to luck, fate, your employees, and other drivers whether or not you have a safe company, right?
You don’t have to throw in the towel and hope your numbers go down. You can be proactive. Make monthly safety meetings a typical part of working for your company. Set the stage for creating a safety-centric culture where ALL employees put risk reduction before anything else. And better yet, invest in an off-the-shelf safety meeting program to make it all easier on yourself.
You’ll watch your accident rates plummet while you have more time on your hands to focus on the important stuff.
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