These two terms are often used interchangeably. For most companies, especially those operating fleets, you can find the two terms used to entail the entire scope of driver education, both theoretically and practically. As much as it seems like they mean the same thing, there are distinct differences when we narrow down the specifics.
Knowing and understanding the differences between the two is important, as it will give you an extended view of what the road is like, and will help you become an effective defensive driver.
What is the general difference?
One of the biggest distinctions between the two is that education entails the ‘what’, while training entails the ‘how’. On the surface you might not see a clear distinction, but when you look closely at the two, you will start realizing it.
Taking a look at what most of us were taught in high school concerning driving, the course would give a general view of the rules of the road. We would be given some course work on paper and learn a few signs here and there and sit an exam at the end of the course. Your high school’s Driver Ed program would not end at this point. It would be futile for anyone to end such studies in class without really getting in a cockpit and actually driving.
Safety education thus teaches the student about the seriousness of the road. It gives a depth on the importance of following the rules and the consequences of not doing so. It also tests you on this, and awards you if you pass the test. Safety training on the other hand places you behind the wheels of a car. It teaches you the various dynamics of the car. Methods like how far to turn the wheel, how to use your mirrors, checking the engine, reacting to emergencies and the like are taught in the training program.
Which of the two is appropriate: Driver education or driver training?
None can stand alone on its own. Educating a driver about the road without training him is useless; and so is doing a training program without having the driver educated. This is even worse when a driver is just about to be hired by a company, say to become part of the company’s fleet drivers.
The starting point for any driver on the road must be safety education. If the driver is to be hired by a company for its fleet, the Driver’s Ed course in high school becomes too shallow for such a person. The reason is that there are more responsibilities given to such personnel than can be handled by a novice driver.
Safety education concepts
Here the driver is taught more than just following the rules to avoid tickets and fines. Defensive driving comes into play. He is taught to anticipate danger at any given time. He is aware that the ‘other guy’ may do something out of the unexpected and taught how to react when something like that happens. Therefore, it all begins before stepping on the pedals.
Safety training concepts
Now that you are able to have a view of how the road is like, it is equally important to know how to check you vehicle’s roadworthiness. The practical bit here is put to the test. How fast can you change a busted wheel? Do you know how to check on your oil and water? Do you understand all the indicators and the lights on your dashboard and what each of them mean? Do you understand the engine well enough to know which gear you are in for an automatic transmission system?
At the end of the day, working together both hand in hand, the combination of safety training and safety education is a must-do for drivers on our roads.