Every day, thousands of motorists encounter trouble with their vehicle and rely on AAA to handle any situation with the proper care. But for AAA roadside technicians, it’s not always a straightforward job.
Jay Carrara, technical training manager for AAA Northeast, and his team created a program that prepares technicians to deal with difficult situations. To address the unique challenges roadside technicians may encounter, they created custom props and built a set of parking garage walls to simulate tricky spaces.
“We realize these techniques don’t come naturally,” Carrara said. “We’re teaching them how to solve any problem with the proper equipment the first time they go out.”
Carrara and trainers Jamie Wood and Paul Costa simulated scenarios technicians may face, including how to service a car without tires or wheels, how to solve for missing keys and how to deal with vehicles that require cribbing, a method using a wooden structure to support and relocate heavy objects.
“We noticed a need to provide additional training for the more complicated calls,” Wood said. “An example of this in the new training is when a member’s vehicle is in a tight parking garage with no keys and the steering wheel turned. A new technician can easily be overwhelmed with a challenge like this.”
Carrara, who has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, said the class shows how important it is to constantly learn and develop new techniques from other professionals. The two-day class offers an accelerated education in a hands-on environment.
“You can become a highly regarded resource for everybody around you,” Carrara said. “That can lead you to being well regarded and able to pursue a successful career.”
Trainers conducted the first session of the training in North Andover, Mass., earlier this year. The class offered a second session in early August in East Providence, R.I. Jonathan Hadfield, Lead Roadside Technician in the Woburn, Mass., Fleet, was at the second training and said it stands out from other classes he’s taken.
“The great thing about this class is that it’s a more advanced program,” Hadfield said. “The other classes I’ve attended don’t teach you about these situations you run into.”
The program will continue to develop as technicians learn new techniques to help AAA members during stressful times.
“I think this shows that we’re innovating in lots of different ways to keep member service at the forefront and ensure our technicians are ready to go and able to do what they need to do,” Carrara said.