Fleet safety is the cornerstone of any organization that relies on vehicles for its daily operations. Whether minor it’s a minor fender-bender or a severe accident, safety violations can have far-reaching consequences like increased insurance premiums, vehicle downtime, legal complications and, most importantly, the injury or loss of life. A 12-month fleet driver safety training program could be the key to long-term success and cost savings, but what should it include? Read on to find out.
Why Bother With a Year-Long Fleet Safety Training Plan?
Fleet managers juggle plenty of day-to-day demands, many of which are timely or urgent, so it’s only natural that fleet driver training may be de-prioritized. However, ongoing education can reduce or outright eliminate many of the problems fleet managers deal with in the first place.
Reduce Crashes and Claims
The overarching goal of fleet safety training is simple: eliminate crashes and claims. Though this is an obvious benefit of a training program, the path to reduction isn’t always as clear as one might think. Covering the fundamentals of vehicle operation is critical, of course, but behaviors that we’ve become desensitized to – like distracted driving, fatigue and road rage – are often the biggest reasons for a crash. A lengthy learning track gives drivers plenty of time to explore all aspects of safe driving, minimizing major incidents (and related expenses) in the long run.
Enhance Driver Performance
For many fleet managers, driver performance is a guessing game. Once their team is out on the road, they’ll lose partial or complete oversight into performance, only alerted when a driver receives a violation. Telematics devices and MVR checks help to fill that visibility gap and identify immediate interventions, but they don’t address the root of the issue. Regular training sessions will keep drivers’ skills sharp across the board, improving all aspects of daily operations.
Ensure Vehicle Longevity
Well-maintained vehicles are safer to operate, of course, but they’re also much more reliable and cost-effective. A fleet safety program that educates drivers on proper vehicle maintenance practices, such as routine inspections, tire checks and fluid levels, can significantly extend the lifespan of vehicles. That’s sure to save an organization a lot of unnecessary expenses over time.
Create a Strong Safety Culture
Fleet safety training is so much more than an avenue for information. When rolled out thoughtfully, it can be a powerful tool to impart a culture of safety and improve driver retention. When safety becomes a core value, drivers are more likely to make responsible choices on the road. This cultural shift will help build a positive work environment where employees feel valued, motivated to prioritize safety in their daily tasks and motivated to stick around for the long hall.
Four Things to Include in Your Year-Long Fleet Safety Training Plan
1. Back to Basics
Reviewing the fundamentals of seat belt usage, safe lane changes, night driving and so on might seem like a waste of time, but it’s all too easy to overlook. Asking fleet drivers to revisit the basics will remind them that road safety starts as soon as they’re behind the wheel.
2. Seasonal Considerations
Drivers should be prepared for whatever the weather may bring. Are they able to drive through ice, snow, and sleet? Can they install tire chains, and are they equipped for a roadside emergency? Make sure fleet drivers have the knowledge they need long before it’ll come in handy. Don’t forget summer prep, either! The hottest months of the year might not seem as dangerous, but they pose their own unique challenges. Drivers should also be well-versed in the issues high heat can cause both them and their vehicles.
3. Navigating Cities, Parking Lots and Other Unique Environments
Navigating busy, chaotic environments can be tricky for any motorist, especially for someone behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle. Between traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, narrow spaces and variable speed limits, the potential hazards are endless. It’s critical that fleet drivers can anticipate and respond to these dynamic conditions.
4. Defensive Driving
The biggest crash risk isn’t always commercial drivers themselves. It’s the other drivers on the road. Fleet drivers can’t control the behavior of those around them, but with defensive driving, they can control how they react to it. Defensive driving training explores a variety of effective techniques, including:
- Hazard recognition
- Space and speed management
- Non-verbal communication
Try Out Our Free Training Program Template
A proactive, year-long fleet safety training program isn’t just a box to check off of a compliance list. It’s a strategic investment in the success and sustainability of your organization. By prioritizing safety, organizations can reduce accidents, improve driver performance, extend vehicle longevity, and cultivate a safety culture that permeates every aspect of their operations. In a world where the road can be unpredictable, investing in the continuous education and development of your fleet is a driving force towards a safer, more successful future.
We’ve outlined a full 12-month training program template to help set you up for success this year. Click the link below to download your free copy.