Many companies associate driver training with news hires. While that certainly provides benefits, an area that fleet managers should not overlook is remedial fleet driver training for veteran and at-risk drivers.
Veteran, or tenured, drivers have plenty of experience behind the wheel. However, they can benefit from refreshing their driving skills with remedial fleet driver training. At-risk drivers are even more of a priority, having demonstrated behaviors that make them more of a risk for getting into crashes.
The Four Cycles of Training
- Unconscious incompetence. In this stage, the driver remains unaware that a gap in skills or knowledge is present. In other words - you don’t know what you don’t know.
- Conscious incompetence. In this stage, the driver is aware of a skills gap and understands the importance of closing that gap.
- Conscious competence. The driver learns the new skills, but putting them to use requires hard work and focus.
- Unconscious competence. The driver has learned the new skills so well that they use them without consciously thinking about it.
Each stage requires a different approach. For example, a person in the unconscious incompetence stage may react different than someone who is aware they have a skills gap. And someone who has reached the conscious competence level may need more time practicing than in instruction.
The Benefits of Fleet Driver Training
Driving Dynamics’ clients have reported strong results from training, leading many to institute a driver safety policy that requires all drivers to take training. One Fortune 500 company with a large fleet saw a 60% reduction in crashes involving injuries in the first 18 months. After mandating that all drivers get trained, the crash rate for all types of accidents fell 41%, leading to an estimated savings of $1.2 million in liability costs alone.
When drivers operate vehicles safer, they also cut down on fuel costs and reduce the need for maintenance due to bad driving habits. Training also helps drivers:
- Meet safety program compliance
- Understand nuances of driving electric vehicles
- Improve efficiency and meet environmental standards
- Understand how to maintain better vehicle control
- Raise their level of situational awareness and potential hazards
Different Methods of Coaching
After assessing where a driver is in the four stages of the training cycle, a customized training plan is developed to meet drivers where they are in their skill level. Fleet managers also have options in how they get that training delivered.
Behind-the-wheel training allows drivers to work with instructors one-on-one. They learn to improve behavior in real-time situations. Contactless training is also available. Instructor-led virtual training allows experienced staff to work with drivers in remote live sessions. And online training allows for self-paced learning as drivers watch videos explaining best practices in a variety of driving-related skills and situations.
Remedial fleet driver training can both help a driver perform better and help a company better manage the risks associated with fleet crashes. With an estimated return of $4 on every $1 spent, driver training is a good investment for fleets looking to become safer and more efficient.