Nearly every aspect of daily life in New Zealand is made possible because a truck driver delivered the goods and resources people need. But there’s no denying that truck driving is a demanding job: long hours away from home, shift work, fatigue, isolation, physical inertia and challenging traffic conditions.
So every year, NZ Truck & Driver arrange a week long campaign focused on appreciating truck drivers and the essential work they do. NZ Truck Driver Appreciation Week runs from 22nd -28th of February 2021 featuring events throughout the country.
Not sure about the best way to show appreciation? Here’s a list of some ways to say ‘thanks!’
- Be an appreciative fleet manager
As is the case in most professions, truck drivers look to their managers — perhaps more than anyone else — for recognition and gratitude. There are many ways for fleet managers to extend their gratitude – thank-you emails and gift cards are great shows of appreciation. Yet, the perhaps most genuine way to show drivers they matter is having a strong commitment to a healthy and safe workplace so all your drivers go home well at the end of the day.
Use your fleet management software to increase not only driver safety but the safety of other road users. Use tools to identify and reward safe drivers, such as driver scorecards, which rate safe driver behaviour based on speed and harsh braking, accelerating and cornering. Installing road-facing vehicle cameras can also help exonerate drivers in scary road incidents that are caused by other road users – giving them peace of mind and assurance following an event that leaves drivers shaken.
Also, let your drivers know it’s ok to speak up if they need help. For last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, Teletrac Navman joined forces with New Zealand Trucking Association and created an infographic and a drivers' workout video to help drivers maintain a healthy mind and body when on the job. We encourage you to share both of these resources with your staff.
- Be a good mate on the road
As a fellow road user, you can lend a symbolic helping hand right from your driving seat. Leave room for the truck driver to merge into your lane and don’t just jump in front of a truck driver if they’ve left some space in front of them. Give them time and space to undertake difficult manoeuvres, such as backing and navigating windy roads.
In 2018 we collected a list of safety tips and general guidance from truck drivers worldwide, and the tips are just as relevant today. Read them here, to be more aware of how to share the road with trucks to keep everyone safe on the road.
- Give a sign
If you walk or drive past a truck driver, a good old ‘thumbs up’ and a ‘thank you’ will never go unappreciated, and it’s an easy and effective way to show truckers you’re grateful for the work they do. Giving truck drivers a wave when you’re both waiting at a red light is also a friendly thing to do.
In previous years, people got creative and made NZ Truck Driver Appreciation Week posters. You can show your gratitude — and your art skills — by creating a poster and post a picture of it on social media, tape it to a car window, or stick it on your fence.
- Pay it forward
There are endless number of ways to show truck drivers they’re appreciated. The next time you’re at a pit-stop and standing in line with a truck driver, consider paying for their coffee if you can afford to. Not only will this likely put a big smile on their face, but it’s an unexpected and kind gesture that lets commercial drivers know they have allies on and off the road.
You can also help by donating to (or joining if you’re in the transport industry) organisations like the National Road Carriers Association, who provide professional support for the road transport industry through advocacy, representation and advice; and the Road Transport Association NZ who provide great support and development to their members and the road transport industry as a whole.
NZ Truck Driver Appreciation Week only lasts seven days, but you can show appreciation for truck drivers by being a good mate on the road all year round, and as an employer, making their safety your number one priority,
To learn more about how Teletrac Navman’s tools can be used effectively for better safety management, check out our webpage for safety managers.