We’ve discussed creating a fleet safety program often on this blog, but one topic we’ve never dived deep into is driver coaching. Driver coaching is an integral part of the puzzle. It’s how we instill safety knowledge into our drivers’ minds. Of course, some ways of driver coaching are more effective than others. Let’s discuss some tips to optimize your coaching time with your drivers and ensure you both get the most out of it.
Three Driver Coaching Tips
Let’s briefly review three tips you should use in your coaching plan.
- Make your coaching sessions targeted. Of course, every driver is different and therefore has different needs. Hone in on issues specific to the driver you are coaching by using video clips characteristic of their issues and even dashcam footage from their trips.
- Make your feedback clear and straightforward. As with coaching in any field, your feedback must be specific to be effective. Offer detailed examples of behaviors you want to see improved to avoid problems in the future.
- Be timely and proactive. Don’t wait too long after an event to review data from it. You want the incident to be fresh in your driver’s mind. Give timely feedback so drivers can retain it better.
4 Topics to Coach Drivers On
Of course, coaching after an incident is always essential, but regular, general coaching is also necessary. Here are four topics you can coach your drivers on to ensure their safety on the road.
- Rest Stops: Drowsy driving on the road is dangerous, and long-haul drivers are in particular danger. You should regularly coach your drivers on creating and maintaining their rest-stop plans. Of course, their ELD should help them out with this. However, an ELD is not tailored and does not account for anomalies. Come up with a game plan in case your drivers get tired, and ensure you have their backs as long as they follow it.
- Inclement Weather: We’ve all seen accidents in inclement weather. Of course, a fleet driver can’t simply pull over every time it rains. Weather patterns can change at a drop of a hat, and fleet drivers must be ready for anything. Coach your drivers on operating in every type of condition, and coach again every season to prepare them for what might be coming in the next few months.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Did you know faulty brakes cause 5% of all truck accidents? These are preventable accidents when you conduct regular maintenance on your vehicles. Ensure your drivers are familiar with your maintenance checklist, and coach them on basic maintenance tasks they can perform on the road if something seems off. Also, coach them on what to do if they can’t complete the maintenance themselves.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is the most significant danger on the road. Make sure you highlight distracted driving on your safety policy, and ensure that you enforce it using fleet technology. We will dive into the specifics of how to do so next.
3 Fleet Technology Solutions to Use in Coaching
As always, technology is your friend when coaching your drivers. There are three particular technology solutions that can help you get the most out of your coaching sessions. Let’s explore them here.
- Dash Cams: Let’s use Azuga’s AI Safety Cam as an example. This is an AI camera that helps with coaching in two ways. First, it records footage you can use in your regular coaching sessions. You can play incidents back for your drivers and pinpoint precisely what went wrong. But even better, AI detects problems as they’re happening and alerts you so you can coach in real-time over a speaker in the vehicle.
- Reports: Fleet management software is continuously tracking data. That means whenever you see a problem in your fleet’s operations, you can obtain data to back it up. Bring that data to your coaching sessions to highlight the problem's severity and hone in on when and where it’s happening. With this information, you can have more productive discussions with your drivers and truly dig into the cause of the issues.
- Azuga Coach: Azuga Coach is a program that features a wide variety of video lessons that cover all sorts of topics. We have lessons on maintenance issues like tire pressure or safety issues like aggressive driving. The program uses telematics data to determine what lessons are useful to certain drivers and assigns them to drivers who need them.
Azuga Supports Your Safety Policy
We’ve discussed creating a safety culture on this blog; coaching is just one piece of the puzzle. Azuga’s comprehensive fleet management solution can help you fit all of the pieces together and create a safer, more effective fleet. To learn more, check out the articles below, or schedule a demo with one of our experts.
- Fleet Safety Policy Guide – Oct. 17th, 2022
- What Does a Safety Manager Do at a Trucking Company? – Mar. 8th, 2023
- Fleet Maintenance Plan & Checklist – Apr. 17th, 2020