The only thing more stressful than managing a trucking or delivery fleet in wintertime is being out on the road. Winter combines the worst of every driving and work situation: bad visibility, long hours, high expectations, slick conditions, larger loads, and hordes of other amateur drivers who don’t know how to handle bad weather. One long-time manager told us: "I spend most of October and November muttering to myself, 'how are we going to survive this winter?'"
You can't cancel the holiday shipping season, bad traffic, or rotten weather. But if drivers know it's coming, they will be less flustered, angry, and likely to quit. The key is to show drivers you see the issues that cause stress, and to train them to work around them.
Driver burnout is real, but it is NOT inevitable. You can retain more drivers, even during the toughest season.
We teamed up with WorkHound to discuss driver retention and burnout — you should check out their post about how to identify burnout in drivers.
Stress, Uncertainty, and Frustration Fuel Driver BurnoutYour drivers (especially new drivers) spend a lot of time in the mental “red zone.”
- Grueling deadlines, long hours, and unpredictable conditions lead to mental exhaustion.
- Fatigue and mental exhaustion lead to collisions and injuries — followed by a cascade of frustration and doubt.
- Following a collision, the driver may feel frustrated with the dispatcher, the company, and themselves.
- The driver may doubt their abilities or start to feel cynical about their job.
Get Ahead of Winter Training to Prevent Burnout
Would you rather wait for one of your drivers to fall and break their leg, or prevent them from breaking their leg in the first place? The answer seems obvious. A reactive-only training approach to problems leaves your fleet vulnerable to expensive incidents *and* it hurts retention.
Okay, training prevents physical injuries, everyone knows that. But you may be wondering, what’s the relationship between training and retention? Great question. Training heads off driver burnout.
According to research published in FleetOwner, there are three factors that cause burnout:
- Physical and mental exhaustion
- Cynicism about the job
- Loss of confidence in abilities, self-doubt
More importantly, the article notes, “Burnout...doesn't happen overnight. It's more effective and easier to deal with the causes of burnout before they occur.”
Training Minimizes Uncertainty and Prevents Frustration
Effective training gives your drivers the tools they need to handle stressful situations and steers them away from incidents and burnout. Training prepares drivers for what’s coming, how to deal with it, and gives them a confidence boost when they need it most.
- The Winter Driving lesson is full of tips like what to do if you get stuck in the snow, maneuvering through a skid, and the best way to install tire chains.
- Our Fatigue Management lesson teaches drivers how to identify and combat drowsy driving.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls lesson helps prevent debilitating injuries.
- Road Rage helps drivers deal with their frustration on the road.
By assigning lessons like these, you not only instill safe driving habits, you send a message that your fleet cares about driver wellbeing.
Winter Driving Safety Courses
Avoiding Roadside Collisions
Reduce Stress & Retain Drivers
Drivers may be afraid to admit their inexperience and (let's face it) some new drivers don’t know what they don’t know. Training gives new and experienced drivers alike the confidence and skills they need to handle stressful situations.
Assigning safety lessons also reassures drivers you’ll support their decision to get off the road when they feel fatigued or unsafe. When the safe choice is always the right choice, it reduces your fleet’s risk of an incident, and frustration and uncertainty for drivers.
Prevent Winter Driving Drama
Online training from ITI is the most effective way to set your drivers up for success this winter. But what about when they're out there on the road?
How many times have you overheard drivers talking about some policy or expectation that is totally wrong? It's because in the absence of information, your people will fill the void with rumor. And when stress is high in the winter, you can bet those rumors will be pretty negative.
Keeping the lines of communication open is the best way to ensure your team members feel supported. Our friends at WorkHound help leading fleets evaluate driver attitudes and well-being. WorkHound invites drivers to submit anonymous feedback so fleet managers have the opportunity to address issues that cause drivers to quit.
Improve Driver REtention by 30 percent
On average, WorkHound’s proactive tools improve driver retention by 30 percent. In the past year, fleets using WorkHound have retained more than 8,000 drivers at an average cost savings of $5000 - $10,000 per driver. Learn more about what WorkHound can do for you.
Whether you manage a commercial fleet, delivery fleet, or a large trucking company, ITI’s online training can help you minimize the financial impact of winter driving. Lessons can be assigned in just a few clicks with ITI's user-friendly learning management system Sentix.
Getting started is easy. Contact one of our training experts online or by phone: 360-576-5976, option 4.