Graham Hurdle blog: 5 October - Are your employees driving on autopilot?
05 October 2015
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
There are many measures to control, advise and warn drivers, thereby improving every road user's safety. The obvious ones are very visible - for example speed cameras, white lines, road signs etc. Then there are those within vehicles, such as warning devices, vehicle tracking and other in-vehicle technology.
In fact, when you think about it, we're surrounded with a vast amount of support as we drive to our destination - yet we still have collisions!
Let's take a typical example. A driver passes several signs for a hazard ahead, for example a junction.
The central white line changes and the in-car SatNav is advising him he is nearing it. The road is bending and at this stage he can't see around it, but instead of slowing down he continues at the same speed. Then crash! He hits the vehicle at the back of stationary traffic backed up from the junction he's received multiple warnings about.
So, how has this happened? Surely if you're being bombarded with clues that there's a hazard round the next bend, you'd slow down and be ready for it.
Sadly not! In fact this happens all too often because drivers become robotic - driving on what is fondly referred to as 'autopilot'. In other words, thinking about something other than their driving, and not using the most important safety tool of all - the brain.
Being on autopilot leads to a lack of concentration, observation and hazard perception - all of which are major factors in crashes. The signs and repeated warnings are there to inform you that a hazard is ahead, but for some reason you ignore them.
So, the thing we need to train is the brain, and anyone who doesn't believe we can focus people's minds to concentrate better and significantly reduce their chances of an accident should consider this.
If you offered a driver £1million to get from their office to their home without a single scratch on their car, how do you think they would drive? Check carefully before any manoeuvre?
Not take any risks, such as squeezing through tight gaps? Leave plenty of space between them and the car in front? Drive at a speed appropriate with the conditions? I'd guess that most people would drive very differently, and get home safely.
All that has changed is we've brought their brain back into play and focused them on the job in hand.
That's why online driver training is growing in popularity. After all, we're not teaching people the basics of driving. We're working on their mind set, helping them think more carefully and making them aware of their role, as a driver, to get to every destination safely.
By improving drivers' mind sets, you'll also improve your safety record, reduce your costs and save a vast amount of time processing accident claims. When put like that, it seems like a no brainer - doesn't it?