A common misconception is that driver training is just road craft, or what happens behind
the steering wheel on the road. Fleet audits reveal the outcome of infrequent attention to
enforcing start-up checklists, driver turnover, understanding new technologies such as
Automated Manual Transmissions (AMT), and simply comprehending the signals of
dashboard instruments.
Cooling systems are critical on any truck. Yet, observing coolant header tank
(expansion tank) cold checks, drivers often overfill this well beyond the MAX
level and with plain water instead of coolant at the correct ratio. This all
reverts to procedural failure, training deficiency, and understanding that
modern cooling systems are sealed and do not require constant topping up.
Apart from that header tank fluid is usually a specific colour – certainly not
clear water!
One fleet audit revealed that the driver did not know the difference between
the windscreen washer tank and the coolant header tank.
Dashboard lights are also misunderstood. A handbrake warning signal (red)
that illuminates after the handbrake is released, indicates that there may well
be insufficient brake fluid and a possible brake fluid leak. Anything that
compromises safety requires urgent attention.
Do fleet drivers really understand? Red lights indicate danger and safety –
yellow lights require workshop attention.
Effective driver training is not just an annual event or when a new truck is
introduced, and instruction is given by the selling truck dealer.
Tracking systems are a useful management tool. Employed as a real-time
observer of driver behaviour, tracking systems work in real-time to deal with
deviations from laid down driving standards – speed control, excessive idling,
harsh braking. But does vehicle tracking really reveal whether a driver
understands the controls under his or her command? A common failure is lack
of use of retardation equipment such as an exhaust brake – this saves braking
friction material and considerably enhances road safety.
If you wish to discuss this or for more information, please contact Hennie
Botha at 031 713 3146 or at 074 331 1354