Managing collisions and their associated outcomes after the fact is no easy task. That’s why it’s worthwhile to stay ahead of them. When you shift your safety mindset from reactive to proactive, a world of opportunity opens up.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines proactive as “acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty.” For many fleet managers, taking the initiative to prevent an incident from happening can feel empowering. And when proactive measures pay off, the rewards can seem even richer.
In its guide to proactive safety measures, Florida-based human resources agency FrankCrum asserts that it’s wise to make safety a priority before a collision or an injury happens, so you’re not rushing to pick up the pieces later.
How fleet managers can proactively coach their drivers
Lytx Director of Risk and Compliance Gary Johnson explains how with this three-step approach to proactive coaching. It really is as easy as one, two, three, he says.
1. Illuminate driver behavior
To take a proactive approach to safety, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, Johnson said. With the help of video-based safety technology, commercial fleets can gain clarity and insight quickly.
“Some people take the approach that ignorance is bliss,” Johnson said. “But it actually isn’t. What you don’t know can hurt you—in the form of collisions, injuries, and claims costs.” A video telematics program, such as the Lytx [Driver] Safety Program, can help by capturing events that are triggered when an unsafe behavior occurs. “Video can reveal the truth of how your drivers are performing,” Johnson said. “The insight that video provides can empower managers to protect their drivers, their vehicles and their brand.”
2. Use data insights to coach drivers and change their risky driving behaviors early
Once you’re aware of your drivers’ unsafe habits, you can use the data that a video telematics program provides to coach drivers on those behaviors, whether it’s cell phone use or poor intersection awareness.
Having access to data from a video telematics program can empower coaches to quickly identify opportunities for improvement among their drivers and hold them accountable in positive ways. “Often, drivers aren’t even aware that they’re driving in a risky way,” Johnson said. “By reviewing the video event clip with them and bringing it to their attention, coaches can promote drivers’ professional development while increasing their awareness.”
Proactive coaching on unsafe driving behaviors before a collision occurs has several benefits, Johnson said. It allows fleets to better manage their risk, protect their reputation, and create continuous improvement among their drivers.
FrankCrum, the human resources agency, adds that continuous training such as driver coaching is the best training when it comes to safety. “Just like a football team, safety needs to be reinforced constantly,” the agency said. “Don’t make the mistake of assuming that safety training is ever finished.” It’s an ongoing process, and one that’s “almost always more cost-effective than the cost of a claim.”
3. Reduce risky driving events
Proactive coaching helps keep safety top of mind for drivers. A Virginia Tech study on the Driver Safety Program, for example, showed that the program can positively impact driver and fleet safety.
Results indicated that the Driver Safety Program can prevent more than 25,000 commercial vehicle collisions and nearly 40,000 injuries annually, making roads safer for all motorists. Specifically, the study estimated that more than 800 lives could be saved each year through video-based driver safety technology.
“As your drivers improve in performance, you’ll start seeing less frequent and less severe risky driving events, as well as reduced claims,” Johnson said. “That’s no coincidence. That’s proactive coaching at its finest.”
An effective safety program will help you transition from managing claims to preventing them. Our 4-step coaching process puts fleets on the fast track to improving driver performance and minimizing risk on the road.