Driving Up Standards With Rocky
This is why in late 2016, we introduced our driving assessments. This was to ensure all PCO drivers joining our growing family met our driving standards. The work didn’t stop there however, as we then introduced our driver development training, helping those in the family refresh and sharpen up their driving skills.
No matter how much driving experience you have, whether it’s two years or twenty, there’s always something that could be improved or addressed, which could be the difference between you getting home safe after a long shift or not.
We caught up with Rocky, who’s been working as a driving development instructor for the past seven months and got his thoughts on the programme, the industry and how Uber drivers can improve their driving skills.
How’s your experience been so far in the role Rocky?
It’s been great. Originally I was at our Wembley Hub, supporting the Otto Team and doing driving assessments. Since Covid-19, I’ve been based in our new Northfields Service Centre, helping PCO drivers improve their driving standards.
So how does the driving development programme work and what’s its purpose?
It serves quite a few purposes actually. The first is that by helping PCO drivers improve their driving standards, they’ll become safer drivers and reduce the risk of an accident, which is something nobody wants. Sometimes it’s the little things like opening the door with your left hand rather than your right or checking your blind spots. Over time we all get into the same habits on the road and my role is to help identify those.
Secondly, by driving more efficiently they will also save on their running costs and keep their PCO car in great condition. This means that when they complete their Rent 2 Buy contract and fully own their PCO car, they’ll keep their value higher.
What’s the most common pattern of driving style that you’ve seen from PCO drivers?
There’s quite a few things I’ve noticed over time. The first is blind spots, which needs to be checked before moving off, the second being how we open the door (especially as they open them so often during their shift). Next would be giving enough space at junctions, especially with mopeds and electric scooters flying around the corner.
The most important one is the speed at which you approach junctions, which can be very dangerous. You simply can’t make a good observation and such a high number of accidents occur at junctions. Adjusting your driving style can make a huge difference and ultimately your risk of having an accident will drop significantly.
How’s the reception been from our PCO drivers?
I’ve been a driving instructor for 24 years, so it’s all about how you approach them and give mutual respect. I am yet to meet anyone at the end of the programme who didn’t take anything away from it, which is fantastic and makes it worthwhile.
On the feedback form we have a strengths and weaknesses section, and we encourage them to keep implementing the areas they could improve to raise their standards overall.
What’s your best and worst experience been?
Starting with the worst, one time I had to stop an assessment after less than a second. We were at Wembley and the PCO driver failed to notice the cones and potholes outside the car park, hitting the obstacles and forcing me to end the programme prematurely. I don’t think that record will ever be broken but you never know!
Moving on to the best, I’ve had so many that I couldn’t give an individual account. So many at the end smile and say thanks as they know they’ve taken something from the programme. When you get that ‘Thank You’, you know it was all worth it and it’s justified putting a lot of effort into the programme, because everybody wins and we’re keeping PCO drivers and Uber Partners safe on the roads.
Where do you see the programme going in the future?
Well, it’s not my call but I’d love to see it grow and become part and parcel of the everyday experience here at Otto Car. A lot of time, money and effort goes into the programme and I truly believe we’re doing the right thing.
Off topic, what’s your favourite PCO car and do you have any hobbies?
I love the new Kia E-Niro, it looks amazing and goes the distance. That’s the future of driving. In my spare time you’ll find me down the gym, I love boxing! I don’t get as much done as I used too due to my commitments but I go as often as I can.
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