Driving is something that becomes second nature to most people and it is easy to fall into a sense of comfort and security after years behind the wheel.
But beware, often the more experienced we are, the more confident we get and this can see us fall into routines and bad behaviours.
To become a better driver, it’s not just about taking lessons, putting hours in on a simulator or completing a course. Making improvements on your driving can come from simple activities that you can easily do in your everyday life.
Meditation for concentration
During long drives, concentration is paramount. In short trips around close to home base or your delivery points your speed is likely to be restricted as you’ll be driving within built up areas.
Concentration is obviously required, but a slip in that concentration won’t have as fatal an effect as driving trucks long distance.
When you’re driving trucks, the severity of a concentration lapses rises. Therefore, concentrating for the entire journey is important.
To combat this, one way to enhance concentration is through meditating.
If you think of the brain as a muscle that can be trained and developed, meditating makes a whole lot of sense.
Studies suggest that as little as ten minutes of meditation a day can drastically improve attention span, and you’ll even see results after just a matter of days.
There are also other benefits to meditation, but more importantly it can be done in pretty much any place that’s quiet.
Test your reactions
Reactions are another part of driving that can’t really be taught, but are very important in terms of safety.
Other drivers aren’t so much the problem, but rather pedestrians and cyclists. You never know when a stray child playing football will run into the road, or a cyclist will pull out from nowhere to cut you off.
At that point, an instant, sharp push on the brakes is required, but a matter of milliseconds could determine whether a collision does or does not occur.
To test and ultimately train your reactions to give you the best possible chance in a situation that would require quick reactions, one simple exercise can be practiced at home.
Take a ruler and get another person to hold it vertically just above your hand. Get them to release the ruler, and as you grip it, you’ll be able to see the distance in which it fell before you reacted and managed to take hold of it.
If you do this for ten minutes, you will see improvement from when you started.
Playing strategic games
Everyone likes playing games, and they too can even help with your driving. Let’s use poker as an example. It’s a very simple premise, which gets much more complex strategically as you delve deeper into the game.
Decision making is a huge part of poker, and making the most profitable decision based on card holdings is what will make you a profitable player in the long run.
Improving your decision making will undoubtedly benefit your poker, but will also help your driving as well. If you get into the habit of making the best possible decision based on information you have in games, you can transfer this and use the same process while driving.
It is a game played in casinos across the world by millions of people, and despite it being a simple game, strategy is a huge part of it.
Some truck drivers will plan before drives, but it’s good practice to spend the time before every drive to plan the journey based on a range of factors, ensuring you get to the destination as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Playing these types of games will help you get into that mindset of always planning ahead, and hopefully that can be transferred into your driving.
It’s easy to get so set in your ways with driving that it becomes difficult to change those habits. But a lot of those habits could be the potential cause of an incident in the future.
You may feel that driving-wise, you have the necessary skills that make you a complete driver. In reality, driving is not about being able to do everything required in your truck.
It’s not about being able to park, do a three point turn in a truck or drive big kilometres in one go.
It’s about reacting to situations on the road and using your knowledge and skill to the best of your abilities.
In completing these simple, everyday tasks, you can practice and develop these skills and give yourself the best possible chance to deal with whatever you may face on the road.