The Role of a Driver Helper

In this video, we’ll provide a quick breakdown into some important functions of a Driver Helper.

What is a Driver Helper?

Driver Helpers serve as additional support to our Service Technicians. Their role is to come alongside the driver and offer an extra set of hands, especially when handling larger units such as Handicap and ADA units. They’re also readily available to help on large event orders or on routes when additional muscle power is needed. In this video, we’ll provide a quick breakdown into some important functions these individuals help on a day-to-day basis.

Loading of Additional Supplies

When gearing up for a full day of work, the first step for any driver is to review their paperwork for the day. If additional supplies such as more paper towels, hand sanitizer, or even an extra dolly is needed, the driver helper should be readily available to grab supplies as the driver is completing their pre-trip inspections. This helps speed things up so team members can get out onto the road faster. It’s important to note that it is the driver’s responsibility to verify that enough supplies are properly loaded onto the truck.

If no extra supplies are needed, the driver helper should assist the driver performing their pre-trip inspection. Some ways they can help is by checking the brake lights, reviewing all cleaning supplies are stocked, the PTO and water pump are functioning, and the straps are secure. When the driver determines the truck is road worthy, it’s time to head out.

Backing a Trailer

One of the most important and often overlooked responsibilities of a driver helper is to assist a driver while they’re backing a trailer. As you can imagine, backing an oversized trailer full of restrooms has several blind spots. Driver helpers can help serve as that extra set of eyes, assisting the driver with backing a trailer by standing behind the vehicle and signaling any unforeseen hazards.

Before backing up the truck or trailer, both the driver and driver helper should determine the best plan of action for backing. They’ll both need to exit the vehicle and examine the area for any hazards so they both know where to aim. It’s also important to be on the same page when it comes to hand signals. For example, small single hand motions can sometimes be difficult to see, especially when it’s dark out. It often works best if you use both hands and bigger movements.

Once a plan of action is established, the Driver Helper should stand on the driver’s side of the vehicle, near the rear of the vehicle. This is because it’s often easier for the driver to see from that angle. They should also make sure they cautiously move with the vehicle as the trailer backs maintaining visual contact with the driver. This will ensure they always have the best line of sight.

Assisting with Live Loads

Live loads are a common occurrence when it comes to typical P&D work. When returning to the yard to pick up a second or even third load for the day, both the Driver AND Driver Helper are responsible for getting on the trailer and inspecting each unit as the forklift operator loads them on the back of the trailer. Once inspected, the driver and driver helper are to push and interlock the units into place for safe transport. They’ll then work together to safely strap the units. By working together, the entire process should go twice as fast. They should each be anticipating each other’s next move, eliminating as much downtime as possible.

Sharing the Role of Dollying and Pushing

When loading and unloading units for delivery or pick up, the driver and driver helper should always work together and make a plan as to how they can divvy up the work to prevent fatigue. For example, when arriving to deliver a bank of restrooms, either the driver or the driver helper will begin to push the units from the trailer toward the back while the other person takes the units and dollies them into place. It’s important to switch roles throughout this process to ensure a shared effort and prevent fatigue over time. It’s important to remember that the Driver Helper’s role is to assist the driver, not do all the work while the driver can relax.

How to Move an ADA with Two People

As you probably know by now, ADA restrooms are the largest and heaviest units in our fleet. With that being said, they can also be incredibly difficult to move by oneself. The best and safest way to move ADA units is with two people, each using a dolly to push the restroom whenever possible. One person should not attempt to maneuver these units alone. It’s also important to utilize the handles on either side of the restroom when loading, unloading, and moving an ADA restroom. Remember to always lift with your legs and never attempt to catch a unit should it start to fall on you.

Route Work

While Driver Helpers most commonly assist with P&D work, they can also help with route work on occasion. There are a couple reasons a Driver Helper may assist a route driver. One reason being driver injury. If a service technician finds themself with an injury leaving them unable to complete the labor portion of the workload, they will often have a driver helper with them to fill in and help with the heavy lifting, completing services, drop offs, or pick-ups as necessary.

Another reason a Driver Helper may assist with route work is due to vacation. If a service technician is planning on being out for vacation, a driver helper may ride along with them the week prior to scout out the route and learn about anything pertinent or unique about the route so they can assist whoever covers for the regularly scheduled driver.