The safety of our professional drivers and the motoring public is of utmost importance at Ruan. I once had to inform a family that their truck driver wasn’t ever going to come home after a fatal accident—I never want to have to do that again.
So as Ruan’s vice president of safety, I often lay awake at night brainstorming ways we can help ensure people get home to their families at the end of the day.
In addition to having the safest late-model equipment and policies in place to ensure drivers aren’t behind the wheel when they’re ill or too tired, our best tactic is to provide continuous, ongoing training. Upon hiring and annually, we train all of our drivers on our proprietary Megasafe7 Rules of Safe Driving—a comprehensive program established to help our team members continue to be safe, thoughtful, defensive drivers throughout their careers.
The Megasafe7 are embedded in everything we do at Ruan. We touch on the rules in all of our required quarterly safety trainings. Posters at terminals remind drivers of key rule components. All of our truck cabs are equipped with a sticker listing the rules. We honor drivers for safe driving with million mile awards and our Megasafe Recognition Program.
Since launching Megasafe in 2012, we’ve seen our drivers avoid accidents, and our safety numbers have improved. We attribute this to our powerful Megasafe culture.
Unfortunately, too many people still fall victim to vehicle crashes. So in one of my late night brainstorms, I decided we should expand our Megasafe training to our team members’ families—Megasafe Family was born. Our goal with Megasafe Family is to spread awareness for safe, defensive driving techniques in hopes that all family members in personal vehicles and semis return home safely every day.
We adapted our Megasafe7 Rules of Safe Driving training to be more applicable to drivers in cars rather than heavy-duty trucks. The training module includes a comprehensive video and collateral materials. We invited the family members of all our professional drivers—specifically significant others and teenagers—to attend our quarterly training, which is mandatory for our professional drivers.
Megasafe Family is a great refresher for our drivers, and their family members hopefully gain tools to be defensive drivers—and to navigate around heavy-duty trucks. Throughout the training, we embedded some information about how semi-trucks operate and what they are and are not capable of doing.
Some key elements included:
Many heavy-duty trucks are governed at a certain speed, often lower than the speed limit. This is done for safety. However, they aren’t able to speed up to pass that other truck on the interstate. Be patient and slow down.
If a truck traveling in the right lane doesn’t change lanes when a car is merging onto an interstate, it’s most likely because a car is passing the truck on the left. Most truck drivers do not deliberately prevent cars from merging. Just slow down, be patient, and merge once the truck has passed.
Truck drivers are professionals. They go through extensive training and are usually the safest, most courteous drivers on the road.
Give truck drivers space at intersections, especially if they’re turning. Follow Megasafe7 Rule 2: Expand Your View to see if any trucks will be crossing your lane to turn. If so, stop well behind the stop bar, giving the truck more room. If a truck is turning right, do not try to crowd between the truck and curb.
Trucks are heavy. It takes more time for them to start and stop. Please be patient. And understand that if a car slams on its brakes in front of semi, the semi might not be able to stop in time. Use Megasafe7 Rule 3: Maintain Proper Following Distance to avoid being in a hard-brake situation.
We want the Megasafe7 Rules of Safe Driving to be embedded in our team members’ lives—and the lives of their family members. Whether you’re in a semi or a minivan, the rules can save lives.