Blind Trust

Changing Driver Behavior
Jun 13/2016 Published by:

Generally, experience is a good thing. However, in driving it can be a two-edged sword. Sure, experience is essential when it comes to successfully maneuvering a truck or overcoming challenging driving situations. Unfortunately, experience can also be a hindrance because it leads to complacency.

For instance, think back to your first few weeks of driving. Most likely, you were nervous and continually concerned about the traffic and other problems surrounding you. You didn’t take anything for granted; danger existed in all directions. You were constantly aware of everything going on around you. Unfortunately, for most of us, this concern and vigilance quickly eroded after a few months of driving without an incident. And, the more we drove without an incident, the more trusting we became.

What inevitably happens is that once we shift from expectations of mistakes by others to the assumption that others won’t make mistakes, we become more vulnerable.

Do you remember going to the circus and seeing the elephants parading – each one holding the tail of the elephant ahead as they walk? It works fine as long as the first elephant doesn’t stop suddenly and interrupt the flow. But, if the first elephant does stop, what happens? You’ve got a rear-end collision! Unfortunately, drivers aren’t much different – one driver just blindly following the other.

The next time you are stopped at a red light, watch the “pack” waiting for the light to change. Odds are that as soon as the light turns green, each vehicle will charge out immediately after the vehicle in front accelerates. Usually, nothing bad happens because there is no break in the flow. Unfortunately, at some point a problem inevitably occurs ahead – such as late crossing traffic or a tardy bicyclist. What happens? The lead vehicle needs to suddenly hit the brakes. What follows is a chain reaction of hard braking within the “pack” because none of the trailing vehicles considered this possibility. Unexpected hard braking is always dangerous – especially in a truck. It can lead to a load shift, cargo damage or worse yet, a rear-ender.

Or, what about the driver waiting at a driveway or cross street anxiously looking to turn onto the main street? How many times have you seen this driver get impatient and make a bad decision on when to pull out? Did it end in hard braking or vehicles swerving to miss each other? Hopefully, it wasn’t you involved in this type of incident. What constantly amazes me is how many drivers blindly trust this can’t happen to them. And, yet, they are taken by surprise each time someone pulls out in front of them and it does.

The problem is that this blind trust just gets worse the longer we get away with it. Despite the alarming number of incidents at intersections, most drivers don’t check left-right-left and blindly rely on a little piece of colored glass to protect them. Many drivers put too much trust in turn signals. They take other drivers’ turn signals at face value and pull out onto the roadway only to find the driver wasn’t turning after all.

It’s a numbers game. The more complacency sets in, the more we blindly trust other drivers. And the more we trust other drivers, the greater the chance something bad will happen. That’s the difference between the really good drivers and those piling up the collision statistics. The good driver understands that complacency and over-confidence is the enemy when behind the wheel and they work hard to defeat it. These drivers understand that they can’t get lazy about applying the fundamentals of safe driving and blindly trust other motorists will do the right thing. They know these fundamentals need to be constantly remembered and applied to their daily driving; otherwise, they won’t protect them when they’re needed the most.

Just like golf or tennis, driving is a skill that can be continually improved. Unfortunately, most motorists invest far more time and money to improve their golf game than they ever will to improve their driving. Not me. I can always take a mulligan if I spray a drive off the fairway. There is no mulligan with collisions.

Related Tags

Driver Safety

Related Blog Posts

Sep 24 / 2015Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Changing Habits by Retraining Muscle Memory

Staff Writer

Sep 03 / 2015Changing Driver Behavior

Risk is a Consequential Matter

Staff Writer

Sep 01 / 2015Changing Driver Behavior

Innovation as a Business Focus

Staff Writer

Aug 20 / 2015Changing Driver Behavior

What Professional Drivers Learn From Their Coaches

Staff Writer

Jul 24 / 2015Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Big Data, Better Drivers

Staff Writer

Feb 25 / 2015Changing Driver Behavior

Why Cheaper Gas Prices Could Put Your Safety At Risk

Staff Writer

Nov 03 / 2014Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Adjusting to Standard Time

Del Lisk

Sep 15 / 2014Changing Driver Behavior

Driver Appreciation Week

Staff Writer

Sep 05 / 2014Changing Driver Behavior

Distracted Driving Forecast: Sunny with a chance of collision?

Del Lisk

Nov 02 / 2013Changing Driver Behavior

Lytx: The Power of Data Blog

Staff Writer

Apr 04 / 2013Changing Driver Behavior

Video Telematics: Seeing is Believing

Del Lisk

Aug 13 / 2012Changing Driver Behavior

What Will Really Deter People From Engaging in Distracted Driving?

Dr. Jeffrey Hickman

Jul 25 / 2012Changing Driver Behavior

There are No Short-Term Initiatives … that Work!

Del Lisk

Mar 09 / 2012Changing Driver Behavior

Is Distracted Driving Getting Better or Are We Getting Better at Hiding our Distractions?

Dr. Jeffrey Hickman

Jan 26 / 2012Changing Driver Behavior

Fleet Safety: Following Too Closely

Del Lisk

Nov 29 / 2011Changing Driver Behavior


Michael Richter

Mar 15 / 2011Changing Driver Behavior

Fleet Safety: The Most Common Risky Driving Behaviors

Del Lisk

Dec 22 / 2010Changing Driver Behavior

Looking Farther Down the Road

Del Lisk

Nov 23 / 2010Changing Driver Behavior

One Simple Step to Reducing Truck Crashes

Del Lisk

Jan 03 / 2011Changing Driver Behavior

Fleet Safety: Danger in the Parking Lot

Del Lisk

Feb 01 / 2011Changing Driver Behavior

Make Driving a Game

Del Lisk

Oct 10 / 2011Changing Driver Behavior

Safety Culture: What is it and How does it Affect Fleet Safety?

Global Administrator

Sep 09 / 2012Changing Driver Behavior

Thank a Truck Driver (or two)

Staff Writer

Feb 28 / 2011Changing Driver Behavior

The Dangers of an Open Lane

Del Lisk

May 23 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Retraining to Retain Your Drivers

Staff Writer

May 25 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Taking the Risk Out of One of the Riskiest Professions

Staff Writer

Jun 01 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

From 190 to 1 in a Blink of an Eye: Managing the Heinrich’s Pyramid Challenge

Staff Writer

Jun 03 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Not All Distractions Are Created Equal: Why Even Hands-Free Can Lead to Collisions

Staff Writer

Jun 23 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Who – or What -- Does the Heavy Lifting to Improve CSA Scores?

Staff Writer

Jul 07 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

The Top Three Things Fleet Managers Can Do to Proactively Manage Their Safety Program

Staff Writer

Jul 27 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Choosing the Right Program, Featured

Using Data to Prioritize Your Fleet’s Safety Issues

Staff Writer

Jul 29 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Driving for the Limits of Automated Technology

Brandon Nixon

Aug 24 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Why Unsafe Drivers Are Often the Biggest Fuel Offenders

Staff Writer

Sep 26 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Fleet Safety: The Dangers Lurking Inside Your Fleet

Staff Writer

Oct 19 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

The Hallmark of a Successful Video-based Safety Program

Staff Writer

Nov 01 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Fleet Safety: Putting a Stop to Rolling Stops

Staff Writer

Nov 09 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

The Three Types of Distracted Driving – and How to Solve Them – Part 1: Manual Distractions

Staff Writer

Nov 15 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

The Three Types of Distracted Driving – and How to Solve Them – Part 2: Visual Distractions

Staff Writer

Nov 23 / 2016Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Distracted Driving Behaviors – and How to Solve Them – Part 3 Cognitive Distractions

Staff Writer

Jan 10 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Three Things That Put Teeth in Your Safety Policy

Staff Writer

Feb 01 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Effective Video Review: Better Coaching

Staff Writer

Feb 28 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

High-Efficiency Driving: Five Driver Behaviors that Reduce Cost

Staff Writer

Mar 24 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Part 2: Using DriveCam® Event Data to Drive More Effective Coaching

Staff Writer

Apr 14 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Driving in the 21st Century, Featured

Autonomous Vehicle Essentials You Need to Know Part One: Levels of Automation

Staff Writer

Apr 18 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Driving in the 21st Century, Featured

Autonomous Vehicle Essentials You Need to Know Part Two: Impact on Drivers, Fleets and the Industry

Staff Writer

Jun 07 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

A Swift Guide to Better Coaching

Staff Writer

Jun 30 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

A Practical Guide to Difficult Conversations: How to Coach Through Conflict

Staff Writer

Jul 06 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Why Putting Positivity Behind Your Training Program Will Pay Off

Beth Geraci

Aug 16 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Driving in the 21st Century, Featured

Fear of Autonomous Vehicles – Loving of Autonomous Features

Staff Writer

Aug 31 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Is Your Rewards Program a Bust? Liven It Up Through These Great Alternatives

Staff Writer

Sep 15 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Components of Effective Accountability Systems

Staff Writer

Sep 22 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

What’s Out There: Three Rewards Programs That Work

Staff Writer

Oct 19 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

The Worst 'Crash' Ever

Staff Writer

Oct 24 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Can We Reverse the Trend of Road Fatalities? New Figures Give One Safety Official Hope.

Beth Geraci

Nov 03 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Daylight Saving Time: More Light Has a Dark Side for Road Safety

Beth Geraci

Nov 16 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Five Sources of Aggressive Driving and What You Can Do About It

Staff Writer

Nov 29 / 2017Changing Driver Behavior, Featured

Gunning It: Six Hard Facts on Why Hard Accelerations Should be Avoided

Beth Geraci