PDV Caribe Dominica Limited has embarked on a training exercise geared at encouraging company drivers to develop safer attitudes towards driving.
A two- week defensive driving training exercise which commenced last week is part of the company’s program of activities to observe Health and Safety month this April.
Martin Joseph from Omega Driving School based in Saint Lucia, has been brought into Dominica to facilitate the training exercise.
“My job is really to train the company drivers”. “We started off with the drivers who drive the forty foot containers and we trained drivers in lower classes of vehicles as well” Joseph confirmed.
Joseph said the training exercise is designed to change the mindset of drivers to be more vigilant.
“A lot of people do things dangerously, it’s become a normal part of their driving, they do it every day, and get away with it. What my company is trying to do together with Petro Caribe is to change the mindset of drivers, not just the drivers of Petro Caribe but of ordinary drivers as well.”
Mr. Joseph said “It’s not to say that these drivers can’t drive, they can all drive, their driving skills were quite good in fact. What was lacking, what we had to deal with was to try to change the mindset of the drivers.”
Mr. Joseph explained that defensive driving involves being observant, exercising good anticipation skills and always questioning the actions of other road users.
He noted that defensive driving is based on good observation initially.
“A lot of people drive, they use the same route everyday and they really don’t think about it. Some drive on automatic pilot from the time they leave home till they arrive at their destination, they are not actually seeing things that they should be seeing”.
He notes that “if everything goes ok it’s not a problem, but if something happens to interrupt drivers’ normal procedure, then it does become a problem”.
In speaking on the subject of anticipation and control skills, Mr. Joseph said anticipation means what people are going to do while driving. He used the following illustration to make his point.
“Let me give an example, you are driving down the road, there are parked cars on either side, one of the things we should be anticipating is children running in between the cars. Obviously because of the height of the child you may not see that child above the height of the vehicle, so it’s important that we anticipate” he explained.
Another example Mr. Joseph noted “would be you coming up to a junction, you are on the main road, you see a vehicle on your left, whose waiting to enter, you’ve got a bit of speed, what you’ve got to anticipate, is what you are going to do if that vehicle that is supposed to wait till you pass him suddenly emerges in front of you”?
He said getting out of that situation would be dependent on good anticipation and control skills.
The defensive driving training exercise by OMEGA driving school, will examine other topics including information about the importance of air bags and of wearing the safety belt.
The training exercise which involves drivers from other local companies will come to an end on Friday April 19.