Sunday, 29 September 2013

Well done our Andy!!!!

Driver of the Year Competition 2013



As some of you may remember I won the title Driver of the Year for my firm last year, well I was given the opportunity to represent my depot again this year for the competition, with the chance to reach the finals and defend my title!




Again this year there was approximately 1000 drivers entered into round one, which was for each depot within the company to choose someone to represent them.  This was, the same as last year, done by checking driver's performance over the previous year, fuel consumption, accident record, attendance and customer service standards.  I was selected to represent my depot.


The second round this year was based on last year, with it being a regional final to see who went through, but in addition to the written exam on the highway code and the company's safe driving plan we also had to complete the hazard perception test similar to what new drivers have to take.  I scored 29 out of 30 for the written exam and 43 out of 50 for the hazard perception, I found out I had dropped points on the hazard perception as I'd reacted to hazards to early!


The finals this year was held at the company's Leigh depot, just to the west of Manchester.  So it was on a drizzily Monday morning the beginning of September that myself and the other four finalists met.  Again this year the event was to be based on 5 separate challenges, but with a twist on last year's final to ensure a level playing field.  The first event I had to do was the vehicle walk round check, again with purposely set faults to see if we could find them.  This year the faults included the wrong number plate on the trailer and an out of date tax disc that was also from another vehicle!


I then moved onto the slow speed manoeuvring course, which was to reverse through a series of gates and back up to a barrier and then returning to the start position.  For this test I was allowed as many shunts as I needed plus being able to get out of the lorry to check what I was doing.  To make things a little more interesting they used a different make of tractor unit to what we were all used to driving. 
The third event was to go to a pre-loaded trailer and then say what was wrong with how it had been loaded.  When asked what I would do if presented with that trailer and my response was I would go to the warehouse manager and say until someone completely unloaded the trailer and reloaded it properly it was going nowhere.  There were so many faults, from stacking chemicals on top of other chemicals, which could potentially result in a very serious situation should the two chemicals mix as the result of a leak, to rubbish all over the floor of the trailer which formed a trip hazard whilst working.


The final event was a drive around the surrounding area taking in a mixture of roads from small town roads to fast moving duel carriageways.  They were looking for my skills in dealing with other traffic whilst attempting to drive as efficiently as possible, this was probably the most stressful event as I was driving a kind of vehicle I'd never driven in an area I didn't know and being assessed whilst I did it!!!


After everybody had completed all the challenges we all met back in the depot's conference room where we were treating to a light lunch whilst they calculated the results.  We were told with the last challenge to go it was still possible for any of us to win the title! James, our national training manager announce the results starting with the 4 runner ups, well he announced the first 3 and the decided to leave myself and another driver hanging whilst he went on talk to us about all of us being winners.  When he finally said that the last runner up was the other driver I was completely shocked, didn't think I stood a chance of winning again as the standard of the other drivers was so good!



Later on this year I have been invited to attend the company's management conference in Coventry to receive my award.


Article by Andrew Wyles

1 comment:

  1. Well done Andrew, make sure you get some photographs at the awards ceremony...........Val...