THE MINDFUL TRUCKER INSTITUTE info@themindfultrucker.com

Do you have a wellness program for your driving force? If you do, you’re on the right track. If not, you should have. Having a wellness program within your company can significantly reduce driver stresses, increase productivity, and reduce your bottom line. Being proactive about your wellness program will cost you a lot less than the alternative, and is a kind way to look after your driving force.

Imagine for a moment that you have a driver whose struggling with family issues. Everyday they come to work with those issues at the forefront of their mind until they are resolved. Their mind is focused on something other than driving. Yes, they can complete their work tasks and function some what normal, but underneath the exterior is a mixture of thoughts, that become emotions. Those emotions drive actions. Sometimes those actions can have a negative outcome.

What or who, are really driving your equipment up the road?

There Are Four Types of Driver Distractions:

  • Visual – looking at something other than the road, such as another vehicle, wildlife, people, or something interesting that catches your eye.
  • Auditory – hearing something not related to the vehicle you are driving, such as sirens, other loud vehicles, loud music, etc.
  • Manual – manipulating something other than the steering wheel, such as your radio, power windows, cell phones, GPS units, eating food, etc.
  • Cognitive – thinking about something other than driving, such as relationship issues, financial things, family health and wellbeing, children, or career issues. Have you ever heard someone say “I have been driving and can’t remember the last twenty miles”. It’s actually quite common in the trucking industry.

The one we are most focused on here is the cognitive distraction, because this is the one that really needs everyone’s attention. The one that goes unnoticed in the workplace. It’s there all the time, but is very hard to detect.

When the mind becomes focused on something other than driving, we get distracted. Imagine for a moment you are driving an eighty thousand pound rig down the road, you are thinking about an argument you had with your spouse earlier in the day. You start to focus on what took place and why it happened, your thoughts then leave your mind for a moment or maybe many moments. These moments turn into minutes, and within minutes a car pulls out in front of you. Because you are distracted, you loose precious reaction time, if reacting at all, and you hit the vehicle causing an accident. You then try to understand where that vehicle came from. Because you were not present to what you were doing, you don’t know. All of the sudden you are faced with an accident, where you could have injured or killed someone or yourself, all because you were not paying attention. This can also happen in your car as well.

Now you have to try and explain to your employer what happened. If you are found at fault, there could be serious consequences for you and your company. Not to mention injury costs, potential loss of life costs (and there are many), the insurance costs, accident clean up costs, equipment replacement costs, etc. It can very quickly add up to millions of dollars.

Now imagine how much that could potentially cost your company with an increased chance of accidents due to these distractions. Economic losses caused by traffic collision related health care costs, and lost productivity are at least $10 billion annually. (Source: Government of Canada)

Yes, this is a lot to manage and just one example of what can happen in the blink of an eye while driving. However, with the right wellness program in place, your driving force will have access and an increased chance of being fulfilled, happy, and productive with a lot less cognitive distractions. Your company will have reduced accident claims and insurance costs, lower HR costs, better overall moral, and an increased bottom line. This in turn will help with better driver retention and hiring practices.

AND, your driving force will thank you for it in ways you never thought possible.

Until next time…

Dana G. Smith, CC

Dana G Smith CC is a Certified Relationship Coach/Consultant and co-creator of The Mindful Trucker Institute, helping companies and professional drivers with better Health, Safety, and Wellness.