Learning to be Decisive Drivers

Photo courtesy of    Mark Stoffel/Gerhold Concrete Co.    Safety Administrator George Claxton goes through the classroom portion of the Decision Driving training with a class at the corporate offices in Omaha.

Photo courtesy of Mark Stoffel/Gerhold Concrete Co.

Safety Administrator George Claxton goes through the classroom portion of the Decision Driving training with a class at the corporate offices in Omaha.

By Brady Jones
Lyman-Richey Corporation


Five principles of decision driving

1. Expand your look-ahead capacity

2. Size up the whole scene

3. Signal your intentions early

4. Plan an escape route

5. Take decisive action

It's easy for us to take the complicated and dangerous act of driving for granted. After a few years behind the wheel, complacency sets in and we start to let our guard down on the roadways.

"Over time we all get distracted behind the wheel and not looking far enough ahead to see all of the hazards," said George Claxton, Lyman-Richey Corporation's safety administrator.

But a program set up by Liberty Mutual Insurance aims to make drivers more vigilant so we can recognize problems around us and decisively react.

It’s one of those things that people might think is kind of hokey, but after they go through it, they find themselves doing it every day. And that’s the kind of thing that translates into safer driving habits.
— Director of Training and Development Tony Clair

"Research has shown that drivers make between 50 to 100 decisions per mile," Liberty Mutual says. "Most are simple, like deciding to slow down or signal a lane change. Others are critical, such as deciding where and when you should swerve to avoid an oncoming car.

"Most of our decisions are based on what we see. Decision Driving lets you see more of what's out there so you can make fully informed decisions to help keep you and your passengers safe."

"As drivers we all develop bad habits," Claxton said, "and this class is designed to get you refocused and make you a better decision driver."

CRH and Lyman-Richey are utilizing this training to reduce the number of property damage claims, said Director of Training and Development Tony Clair.

Liberty Mutual has said companies see an average decline of 20 percent in property damage claims after their employees go through the training, and Clair said utilizing existing monitor technology like the Smart Drive camera systems will allow the company to compare and track incident rates over time.

And though it's harder to measure directly, the company hopes to see a reduction in maintenance costs as a result of declining incident rates.

"Building this awareness will also reduce injuries. So it's a win-win," he said.

The half-day training is set up with a two-hour classroom setting and a two-hour driving portion in groups of around eight people.

"It's one of those things that people might think is kind of hokey," Clair said, "but after they go through it, they find themselves doing it every day. And that's the kind of thing that translates into safer driving habits."

Clair has been running the training with Claxton since November, and all employees will go through the sessions at some point.

Clair and Claxton said the sessions have gone really well so far with attendees coming away with stuff they can use year-round.

"With any new training, drivers will start off skeptical, but people are coming away having learned more than they thought, even our more experienced drivers have commented on stuff they've learned — and even some of our grumpier drivers have, too," Clair said with a smile.