Are you part of a fleet?
For Captain’s Picard and Kirk, the answer’s a resounding yes. For the rest of us, however, it might not be so clear cut. Unless you drive a lorry for a living, you might not think of yourself as being part of a fleet. But for many of us, driving for work is part of our role, and that automatically does make us part of one. And, whether you’re in command of the Starship Enterprise or a Skoda Octavia, if you drive for work and are part of a fleet, then you should have some driver training.
At RoSPA we provide an extensive range of driver training and fleet solutions to help businesses stay on top of this essential and often overlooked area of workplace safety.
We also practice what we preach, and provide expert driver training for all of our employees that drive for work. And so, in order to give you an insight into our driver training courses, we’ve decided to boldly go where no blog has gone before, and let two of our employees explain what really goes on during a RoSPA driver training course…
What driving for work activity do you do?
Matt: Going to and from various events and meetings. As I’m part of the RoSPA Awards team who run large events, this involves driving both cars and vans. And I also drive to work most days!
Roy: I’m a trainer, so have to drive to both training centres and places of work all over the country.
Why did you undertake the training?
Roy: I drive a company car so it is a prerequisite of my position. I also wanted to do it as I have a young family and we travel a lot to visit relatives. Advanced Driver training increases my driving ability and reduces the risk of any accidents.
Matt: Yeah, I have to do it as part of our company car policy. Drivers have to achieve at least a Silver Grade in the RoSPA Advanced Test. RoSPA’s Advanced Driving test focuses on continuous improvement, and my previous Gold level result had expired after three years of holding it. Having previously achieved Gold level – I was keen to maintain the same level, so took some Driver Development refresher training beforehand.
What was the trainer like?
Matt: Excellent. He made me feel relaxed in the vehicle straight away; this enabled me to drive in a ‘normal’ way. In turn, this made it easier for him to observe my driving and identify areas that were in need of improvement.
Roy: One important thing my trainer did was put me at ease over the two days and reassured me that my current standard was at a good level. I was really impressed with the approach and methodology he taught me. This was different from what I was taught during lessons when I was learning to drive. The advanced method made a lot of sense and is very applicable.
What was the one key takeaway from the training that you previously didn’t know?
Roy: So I used to think that that if a crash occurred and it wasn’t my fault then there wasn’t really anything I could do and that I wouldn’t really be bothered as it was someone else’s fault. I’ve now learned to fully focus on not only my own driving but to have a much better appreciation and awareness of those around me to accommodate their errors in order to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring. I have become a much more active driver than a passive one.
Matt: Whilst I was told that I use my mirrors well, I was given some helpful advice about gathering information on what is happening to the rear of the vehicle, and considering the threat from a rear end shunt. This included slowing gradually from high speeds when approaching roundabouts and junctions to help manage the closing speed of vehicles behind me. Once stopped at such junctions – I was also advised to leave a safety gap in-front of my vehicle.
I did this already to some extent – to allow manoeuvring space in case of emergency vehicles approaching etc, but leaving a more generous space was suggested – whilst continuing to monitor the rear view mirror when stationary. This means you have space and awareness to respond to potential rear-end shunts if you see a dangerous situation developing behind you.
Finally, what learning are you applying into your driving?
Roy: Position, Speed, Gear Accelerate. It’s an approach to driving that I picked up on the training. It’s making me a better driver and is giving me greater confidence when driving both for work and in my free time.
Matt: I learnt how to perform sustained gear changes when selecting a lower gear. This is a technique by which you match engine revs to the gear you are selecting to provide a very smooth, jerk-free downshift. As someone who enjoys driving, I like learning about the more advanced driving techniques that RoSPA trainers can advise on.
So there you have it. Two happy and better drivers, and a happier and better RoSPA Fleet.
RoSPA Fleet Safety are working to reduce occupational road risk using innovative, behaviour-based solutions. Our goal is to be the global leader in driver and fleet safety.