The course we set up is used to simulate, in a controlled environment, the most common situations where driver errors are likely to occur. These situations are designed to address the visual awareness limitations as well as the maneuvering difficulties due to the vehicles’ dimensions. This program specifically addresses the critical driving demands that are placed on paramedics. The need to perceive and implement safe driving maneuvers and practices, while recognizing efficiency vs. speed, will be reinforced.
The areas assessed are:
- their visual awareness/eye habits while in forwards and reverse
- their ability to discern the visual information when using their mirrors
- their ability to recognize the placement of hazard in relation to the vehicle and to judge distances between the ambulance’s perimeter and the obstacle
- their understanding of off-track and tail swing
- their recognition of the vehicle’s dimensions when navigating in an area that allows minimal clearance
- their ability to recognize the vehicle’s blind spots
- their ability to recognize the space limitations regarding the overhang
- their handling skills/abilities while utilizing the coordination of acceleration, braking and steering
The paramedic will recognize the importance of separation of independence of function to maintain a level platform for increased safety and continued patient care.
Paramedics will be taught the use of “high aim” vision to determine the proper path of travel. They learn to navigate safely in areas that demand correct visual skills due to obstacles or minimal space allowance. The ability to recognize the vehicle’s turning radius, off-track, tail swing and space requirements is stressed.
The drivers will be instructed and then assessed on their performance in each of these six exercises:
- Dead-end right turn
- Alley dock reversing (left and blind side)
- Left/right turns/offset
- Late apex turn
- Three-point turn
- Timed trial
After all exercises have been completed with a minimum of two attempts, the paramedic will be requested to perform all the exercises in timed trials. This will introduce internal stress and is effective in addressing the issue of efficiency vs. speed. Most participants find this portion of the program both challenging and fun.
The learning outcomes are:
- an awareness of the vehicle’s special dimensions, which is intended to reduce minor collisions, especially in reverse
- the benefits in terms of efficiency, safety, vehicle handling skills, and patient care while using the late apex turn
- the increased use of vision and perception skills to avoid hazards