As a professional driver in the EU, you will have already had to complete a driver safety training course at the beginning of your career. Special driver safety training for professional drivers ensures that drivers can handle their heavy vehicles safely and carefully in all circumstances, avoiding danger zones and minimising the risk for all concerned.
Without exception, every truck driver is obliged to complete a driver safety training course
Driver safety training for professional drivers is intended to defuse dangerous situations in road traffic. Therefore, not only newcomers to the profession have to take part, but also anyone who holds a valid driving licence for a truck or bus – even if they are only temporarily on the road. Every employer who employs truck drivers is also obliged to take part in the training course – this is the only way for them to know what situations their drivers can get into. It is also not enough to participate in the training once when starting the job: According to the professional driver qualification laws, further training is required every five years. Part of this training is the driver safety training.
Where does the driver safety training take place?
There are various providers of driver safety training courses for professional drivers. For Germany, this could be the ADAC, other motor clubs or the road safety organisation. Sometimes driving schools also offer courses or manufacturers of such vehicles. Apart from well-trained specialists who can convey important knowledge in an understandable way, basically they need a place that is spacious enough. To create different routes with different conditions for the large vehicles, a large area is needed.´
Where you complete the driver safety training depends, among other things, on whether your employer commissions and pays for it or not. In some companies you are recommended or prescribed a course, in others you have to find one yourself. It is best to enquire early on how this is handled by your employer! That way you won’t be late for the next course. In most cases, you come to the training course with your own truck or that of your employer. In some cases, the organiser will also provide the vehicles. Before the training, find out about the situation in your case.
How driver safety training works
At the start of the course you will receive theoretical information about vehicle technology and driving physics. This is followed by a check in the driver’s cab: Is the sitting position correct? Are the steering wheel and mirrors correctly adjusted? You’d be surprised how some bad habits can creep in over the years!
After the theory, it’s finally time for the practical part. The training site features slopes and a slalom, a circular track and various road surfaces. Some places are flooded with water. This is where you will practise braking in various conditions, as well as avoiding obstructions and manoeuvring. While driving, you will learn everything you need to know about the centrifugal forces and tipping behaviour of the truck, and during the entire exercise you will be connected to your trainer via radio. He can give you feedback and tips in real time. In this part, you will also learn all sorts of interesting facts about load securing.
How do you reverse with a trailer?
It is one of the most difficult tasks for professional drivers who are just starting out. Reversing with a trailer is contrary to instinctive behaviour, as the driver must turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction. It also takes a bit of practice to understand the intensity with which steering is transferred to the trailer. During the driver safety training you can try out in a relaxed manner and under supervision how to reverse without the trailer going out of lane.
Why you should not neglect your driver safety training
After you have completed the driver safety training, you will receive a certificate proving that you have participated. You should always have this proof with you when you are on the road with your truck. If you are caught without this proof, you as the driver may be fined up to 5,000 euros. Your employer, who has allowed you to drive without the legally prescribed driver safety training, can even be asked to pay up to 20,000 euros. For this reason, you should make sure you don’t miss your training dates.
Summary: Driver safety training is part of the job
Even if the date for driver safety training seems unnecessary to you, especially after a long career, you should simply accept it as part of the job. You may pay less attention to some things over time, others may change from time to time, and when you drive a new truck, the training is quite different from the old one anyway. Basically, refreshing your knowledge is never a bad thing. If you find yourself in a particularly dangerous situation, lives can depend on what you learn here! And since the law punishes a failure in this respect particularly harshly, you should simply mark the appropriate dates in your diary early and get it over and done with. You might even enjoy simulating extreme situations. If you change course providers frequently, the differences can be very interesting.