What makes you safe?

What makes you safe as a truck driver? It certainly is not dispatch. Heck, many dispatchers want you to run and run and then keep running. Is it the company you work with? Again, many of the smaller companies want you to work and work as they have customer service as their goals and often, not the interests of you. (Note: this is not the case with all dispatchers and companies but certainly, with at least some of them.)

So again, I ask, what makes you safe? Is it the government, meaning the Ministry officers and the police that enforce the Highway Traffic Act? Is it the Highway Traffic Act itself? Of course not. It is not the government and its officers, nor the acts and regulations that the government puts into place.

The thing that makes you safe is you! You know this. It is you and the choices that YOU make. So have you ever thought about those choices? Why do we, as humans, make the choices that we make? What drives us to do what it is that we do?

Sometimes it’s the dispatcher, or the company, or the customer. But there are much more powerful influencers than these. For example, motivational speaker Tony Robbins tells us that “we can move mountains for those that count on us and that love us”. He tells the story of a father who, after a long stressful day at work comes home to his six-year-old child and the child jumps into his father’s arms. They often do this, but this time there is no joy in the child. His child was crying. The father asks: ‘Oh my goodness, young one, what is wrong?’ With tears streaming the child answers that while at school today, they watched a movie and the movie was about smoking and how bad smoking is. The child says: ‘Daddy if you don’t quit smoking, you are going to die!’

Now if you are a smoker or anyone who has tried to change a bad habit, then you may have tried to change many times. This particular man had tried to quit smoking many, many times and no matter how hard he tried, he always relapsed into smoking again. Seeing his child in such pain and seeing the child crying because of his worry for his father was too much to bear. The father quit smoking immediately and it all seemed natural to him. The lesson is: for his child he could move mountains.

What does successfully quitting smoking have to do with truck driving and drivers’ decisions? It is that any habit can be changed when we are motivated enough. And one of the greatest motivators is our loved ones; our children, our parents and of course our spouses. They all have huge influences on us and the decisions we make.

So when it comes to our daily decisions such as: performing excellent vehicle inspections, not following too closely and pulling over and parking when the weather is not suitable for driving, they have an enormous impact. The next time that you get a little aggravated and want to travel above the speed limit, picture your loved one’s face. Yeah, now try and speed and tailgate while remembering this. It makes it much harder, doesn’t it?

Do the same thing when you decide to cut short a vehicle inspection. The vehicle inspection that can keep you alive, can keep you out of jail or just cost you money. Think of any person that loves you. Now try and take a short cut. It is much harder.

That is my point in telling the story of the smoker and the child. We can move mountains for those that love us. Try putting a picture of your loved ones on your dashboard and think of them when you make the right moves. They will thank you for it. Remember them, your loved ones, so that everyone can have a Merry Christmas.

And on that note, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best.

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.