Safe manouvers in ABB

The force inside an airbag is demonstrated. Photo: Edvin Sten

Health and safety concerns are top priority in ABB. This was something I experienced first-hand in an exciting way during my third week as a trainee at ABB.

My name is Edvin Sten and I am one of the trainees that started in February 20, 2017, located in Västerås. As my colleague Peter Fredriksson from Ludvika explained in his previous post, we started off our trainee program with an introduction week to get to know ABB and each other better. After that each of us headed out to work at our designated workplaces. The trainee program is designed that we each do 3 traineeships divided equally over 30 weeks. As for myself I started my first 10 weeks practice at Domestic Sales in Västerås, with focus on data centers. But enough about me, I would like to tell you more about what happened in when we had our safety driving course.

All employees at ABB are educated in safety driving, which also is routinely updated. There are quite a few positions at ABB where driving a car in work is necessary. Last time I took a safety driving course was when I took my driving license 9 years ago. Therefore I was quite excited to see how my driving was when put under pressure.

Testing an airbag

The day started with a short breakfast and a seminar held by the instructor. Later on we headed out to the training course. Before we was started driving on the training course we were educated in driving positioning and the importance of that. To hold the steering wheel safe you could imagine a clock and place your hands on 4 and 8. Why you wonder? Because if done otherwise you could risk to cross your arm over the steering wheel in an extreme maneuver. If then the airbag is activated while your arm is crossed over the steering wheel it could result in a serious arm fracture. The power in the airbag is enormous, as we were shown when a car tire was put on top of an airbag and later shot up in the air by the power of the explosion.

Importance of tires

We were two trainees in each car and our first mission was to navigate through a winding course holding the steering wheel as we just were thought. But also speed up to 50km/h and smash the breaks as hard as we could, without losing control of the car. And did I say it was in heavy snow? It was snowing a lot. In my opinion this made the whole experience even more instructive since we have a lot of snow in Sweden in the winter making it a realistic scenario.

The car I drove was a smaller one with excellent stubbed winter tires. Even though we tested max breaking in a corner in as fast as 70 km/h, both I and my colleague managed to maintain control of the car. We saw how our colleagues where all over the place thinking for ourselves “We must be pretty good at this”. At the time we did not think about what tires we had on. As we grew more and more confident in our car we changed car. It was the same model and everything, just another color. The first corner I took failed miserably. I was all over the place. Both I and my colleague next to me were in bit of chock since we performed so well just a couple of minutes ago. Later on the instructor told us that the car we were sitting in now had tires in poor condition and without stubs. This was one extremely valuable lesson learned, to be given the opportunity to truly maneuver a car in a controlled conditions, but what could be really dangerous in real life.

I believe I speak for the whole trainee group when I say that it was truly an amazing day. We all got the opportunity to push the boundaries of the cars and ourselves, learning how to drive safe when we are needed to travel by car.

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