As we drive down the highway, many of us don’t have to think twice about safety. It is a built-in function after many miles of highway covered under many different conditions. For others, it is a new concept after being thrust into the world of truck driving right out of a few weeks in truck driving school, paired with several more weeks with a trainer. In some instances, the trainer may not even have that many miles under his/her belt either. So that the importance of safety does not go by the wayside, I would like to reflect on the concept and importance of continual training, even self-training, and the impact it can have on any truck driver.
What exactly does being safe mean to you? To each of us it will mean something a little different, but the end goal should be the same. To me, safety means making it home just the way I left it that morning. By doing so, the end goal for me is to make sure I have completed every “tour of duty” without causing harm to myself, or anyone/anything else around me…period! Not only does this make for less stress in the long run, but also an increased bottom line, as accidents of any kind are not conducive to higher profits.
First off, lets look at what we can do to improve ourselves. When it comes to safety, habits can sometimes overpower what we are taught. Sometimes we get a little too comfortable with the habits that we incorporate that could be questionable in the overall concept of safety. Sure, something as simple as driving with one hand on the wheel doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I best you’ll wish you had them both on there when you blow a steer under a heavy load! It is important that we keep ourselves in check and continually watch that our bad habits do not get in the way of us operating safely. Work that much harder to spot yourself in a bad habit to better enable yourself to change it into a good habit!
Another important thing to remember is that safety, when confronted with an immediate safety risk that requires quick attention, is instinctive in nature. Generally, we revert back to our last safety training when posed with a scenario where instincts cause us to react against an unsafe action. When I was asked recently when my last safety training was, I was sort of embarrassed that I couldn’t remember. Of course, I drive safely and practice the principles of safe driving I have learned through many years behind the wheel, but I could not for the life of me remember the last formal training I had received. This meant that I could not remember the training my mind would depend on, should I need to react to an emergency situation. After thinking about it, I was able to trace my memories back to approximately five years ago, at a company that held very extensive quarterly safety meetings with all of its drivers. Since the time this question was posed to me several weeks ago, I am proud to say I have participated in one driver training session for winter safety preparedness and have also been certified in the Smith System of driving. It makes me glad to know that I now affiliate myself with a business partner that takes safety very seriously, both in practice and in formal training.
Can you remember when your last safety training session was?