Precision driving, fuel efficient driving, sustainable driving – not to mention life-saving and cargo securing. These are among the essential skills that a driver needs to master. These key skills are being assessed during the Scania Driver Competitions 2018 – 2019. The grand final is held on May 24-25.
Road safety, improved fuel consumption and minimising the environmental impact of truck driving. The European Commission’s 2003 directive on driver training inspired Scania Driver Competitions – the biggest event of their kind in the world. This year’s competition attracted participants from 30 European countries.
Helena Evsäter, Activities Coordinator at Scania, is responsible for the different challenges in the competition. She has been all over Europe and helped out at some of the countries national finals. The winner from each national final is representing his country at the European final in Södertälje.
Maintaining standards in all markets
“It’s fantastic to witness the drivers’ joy when they win,” she says. “The driver who won in Ukraine got down on his knees and was ecstatic. Having these kinds of experiences is the best part of my job.”
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The first national final in Scania Driver Competitions has been held in Ukraine. The winner was Denis Terendiy, who also won the national final back in 2014. Since then he’s started his own haulage company and his dream is to win the big final in Södertälje in May and add a Scania to his fleet. #scania
Evsäter has been working with Scania Driver Competitions since 2010, and is passionate about all the encounters she has had with the people involved. In order for the competitions to be as fair as possible, her team supplies the markets with all that is needed for the finals: flags, obstacles, decorations and all other equipment. And they make sure that the same level in difficulty is maintained at all the finals.
“We are detail freaks so we make sure that all the curves on each track are as narrow as we want them to be,” she says.
Several updates have been made to this year’s Scania Driver Competitions. The previous age limit of 35 years has been taken away and now drivers can apply by using the online tools in the Scania Fleet Management System.
New challenges this year
One new challenge in the competition is the “water challenge”. In this new precision-manoeuvring test a large water-filled container is placed on the truck. The driver’s task is to drive so smoothly that no water is spilled. “This might not be the most difficult challenge, but it is definitely one of the most appealing for the audience,” Evsäter says.
“The real challenge lies in the fact that you tend to forget about the water container.”
The transport business is in great need of more drivers, and one of the main purposes of Scania Driver Competitions is to inspire interest in the profession. “There is a lot of discussion about the shortage of drivers in all our markets,” Evsäter says. “With our Driver Competitions, we aim to encourage more people to become drivers, and to raise the status of the profession. We consider the drivers who enter the competition to be our heroes, and in each country we get hundreds of drivers who become great ambassadors for the transport business.”
The Scania Driver Competitions challenges
Water challenge: The objective of this exercise is to show good ability in manoeuvring the vehicle and avoid a bumpy ride. This track tests the contestants’ skills at manoeuvring the vehicle gently with precision. Calm, gentle and efficient driving is rewarded while mistakes are penalised as the driver will lose water.
Check before driving: The objective is to highlight the importance of checking the vehicle every day. Contestants must identify a number of road safety deviations on a tractor-trailer unit within 10 minutes.
Defensive driving: The objective of the exercise is for contestants to show a good driver attitude against fellow road users, environment and vehicle. Furthermore the good judgement in traffic with a defensive driving style that is economical and well planned and that avoids causing dangerous situations.
Knock the king: The objective of the exercise is to show good ability in manoeuvring the vehicle safely without making mistakes. The track tests the contestants’ ability to position the vehicle with precision. Calm but efficient driving is rewarded while mistakes are penalised.
Knock the king head to head is the very last challenge to be conquered by the three remaining participants, after the other 27 have been eliminated along the way.
Fire & rescue: The objective is to measure the contestant’s ability to act quickly and correctly in an emergency situation. Many drivers who spend long hours on the road are often among the first to arrive at accident scenes involving other road users. A basic knowledge of lifesaving techniques can therefore be vital.
Cargo securing: The objective is to prevent inadequate cargo securing that often results in the loss of goods, delays and, at worst, accidents. The contestants must show good knowledge in securing cargo through a practical test.
A cheque for EUR 100,000: money to spend on a Scania truck specified to meet the user’s needs. The grand title of Europe’s best truck driver.