Photo by: Jenn Durfey is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Keeping your fleet on the road can be an issue for some fleet operators in the winter. Changes in conditions and surfaces can cause additional wear and tear on vehicle increasing their vulnerability to breaking down. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a good maintenance schedule with regular checks across the vehicle or asset. However, encouraging staff that drive to complete simple checks and to take appropriate actions to not only safeguard the vehicles but also to protect themselves from potential harm.

Below are some straightforward tips and checks that employees can undertake to inspect their fleet vehicle.

Keeping on top of vehicle maintenance has a major impact on the overall of operation of the business. Not only can tear and wear damage remove a vehicle or asset from active service potentially costing you not only business but a costly repair bill depending the on the damage sustained. Large repair bills aren’t the only issues, small defects on low-impact components such as badly-inflated or tread-worn tyres will increase fuel costs.

Small repairs can mount which could mean that a vehicle which is in otherwise good condition can develop a major fault and could place your employees or members of the public at risk. This is highlighted by a report from Department for Transport regarding road casualties which showed that, in 2015, 35 people were killed in crashes and just under 2,000 people injured (either sustaining serious or minor injuries) in accidents that involved vehicles with repairable defects.

The below infographic from the Institute of the Motor Industry shows the potential defects and accident statistics based on 2014 data.

However, urging employees to conduct regular walk-around inspections can help to reduce the impact of defects. Common flaws that should be examined are:

  • Tyre Tread Wear:

    Indicator bars on tyres (small bumps in the tyre grooves) show the minimum tread for the tyre, however the legal minimum for the UK is 1.6 mm. While this is the legal minimum road safety experts and charities believe that this is too low to ensure road safety and advocate changing your tyres when they reach 3mm. We recommend that all staff that drive carry a tyre depth gauge either inside the vehicle or on their person to ensure confirmation of the current tread depth quickly and simply

  • Tyre Pressure:

    Using a pressure gauge to ensuring that tyre pressure is correct, as this not only helps to improve fuel efficiency (uninflated tyres can increase fuels costs by 5%) but is the most common reason why tyres fail and blow-out which can result in loss of control and potentially a crash. Furthermore, correct pressure improves vehicle handling, improving grip and stopping distance

  • Examine General Wheel Condition:

    Running a hand over the side of the tyre to see if there are any cracks, bulges or bubbles. Using sight and ensures that all-wheel fixings are intact and giving wheel studs or blots a quick twist to check tightness

  • All Lights are Working:

    131 accidents in 2015 were caused by broken or defective indicators or lights. Simply turning on each set of lights (headlights, indicators and brake) on a weekly basis helps to prevent overlooked problems with lights and can reduce the risk of accidents

Needless to say, staff should be encouraged that if an issue is discovered with a vehicle to take appropriate action depending on your company’s policy, as putting it off can not only cost the company in the long run but also place either themselves or other staff at risk.

This list is not exhaustive and is supplied as a guide only. Depending on the type of vehicle that you are using and the distance that you are travelling additional checks may be required, please review your manual or with your employer’s policy for the correct checks for your vehicle types.

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