Owner Driver - - Truck Deals -

AGA GAS, the Linde Group in­dus­trial gas sub­sidiary in Swe­den, has com­menced train­ing its 700 fleet own­ers and driv­ers that carry out trans­port op­er­a­tions on their be­half in de­fen­sive driv­ing. The main ob­jec­tive is to pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence what it feels like to over­turn.

“We at AGA and Linde have a vi­sion of zero ac­ci­dents, so it is im­por­tant that our driv­ers are trained to pre­vent ac­ci­dents,” fleet man­ager at AGA Re­gion Europe North Lars Jo­hans­son says.

“Ev­ery ac­ci­dent is one too many. And since we de­liver dan­ger­ous goods, the ef­fects of over­turn­ing can be sig­nif­i­cant, not only for those in­volved but also for third par­ties.”

In an ex­am­ple, a heavy truck and trailer com­bi­na­tion ac­cel­er­ates with the speedome­ter at 30km/h, when the driver is sur­prised by an ob­sta­cle and forced to make a sharp eva­sive ma­noeu­vre. De­spite the low speed, the ve­hi­cle swerves vi­o­lently and the right-side wheels rise from the road. The truck and trailer soon over­turn.

In this case, the ac­ci­dent never oc­curs. At an aban­doned air force base not far from Sca­nia’s head of­fice and pro­duc­tion cen­tre in Södertälje, Sca­nia and AGA have set up train­ing fa­cil­i­ties on the land­ing strip.

Two Sca­nia trucks have been equipped with train­ing wheels to al­low the par­tic­i­pants to push the outer lim­its of the forces in­volved in sim­u­lat­ing over­turn­ing.

“This was re­ally en­light­en­ing,” tanker truck driver Tobias At­torps says. “To ac­tu­ally get a feel of what it’s like to over­turn, I had to force my­self to go against ev­ery pre­cau­tion that I nor­mally take.”

Nearly all over­turn­ing ac­ci­dents can be at­trib­uted to hu­man fac­tors: to lack of knowl­edge, to fa­tigue or to a mo­men­tary lack of con­cen­tra­tion.

Ex­ces­sive speed and sharp turns can also cause over­turn­ing, which hap­pens all too quickly but can be avoided through fol­low­ing some sim­ple steps.

“This con­cept is unique,” says Jör­gen Kalénius, driver coach at Sca­nia’s Stock­holm dealer.

“In re­al­ity, the mar­gins for er­ror are much smaller, and we carry out th­ese train­ing ex­er­cises with a high de­gree of con­trol and pro­tec­tion to en­sure peo­ple’s safety.

“What we wish to con­vey dur­ing the course is what it’s ac­tu­ally like to over­turn.

“The par­tic­i­pants should know what that feels like and gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the risks in­volved.”

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