Whether you are dealing with a small handful of cars, or a major commercial fleet of vehicles, safety and operability are your first two concerns on a regular basis. Commercial vehicles are at the heart of many businesses, and losing them can have a major impact on operations. It can also cause plenty of headaches, particularly when something goes wrong – commercial auto insurance is a great backup plan, but you are better off preventing trouble before it starts. By keeping your vehicles safe and well-tuned, not only will your premium stay low, you’ll feel a lot safer out on the open road.
Look at the Big Boys
Commercial truck drivers with CDL licenses need to go through a lengthy safety check before they get their rig on the road. They need to fill in and file checklists, which are kept on file for future reference as well as evidence in case of an issue. Take some notes from them and do the same for your fleet. Every day, your drivers or you yourself should take a look at:
- All exterior lights, including turn signals and four-way flashers.
- Make sure that brakes and steering are responsive.
- Give the seat belts some short, quick tugs to make sure they grab in the case of a sudden stop.
- Regularly check the heater, defroster, and windshield wipers to make sure they function in the case of inclement weather.
- Make sure all emergency equipment is current – keep fire extinguishers in all vehicles and make sure to get them recharged on a regular basis. Provide accident kits for all commercial vehicles.
Stay Up To Date
Keep abreast of any changes in laws that may require you to act, or any changes in technology that you may be able to take advantage of. Changes in the law may require you to alter your daily walk-throughs or update equipment. New technology can help you track and maintain your fleet of commercial vehicles.
Having a history of what was and wasn’t done on the vehicle, as well as any known equipment issues or irregularities, can make diagnosing a problem easier. It is also good to have a record for resale purposes – buyers are more likely to consider a vehicle with paperwork that can provide insight into its history.
Make a Maintenance Schedule
If you are keeping those records, you can use them to develop a maintenance schedule for each specific vehicle. You should have routine maintenance set up for each vehicle, based on how hard they are used and the miles they run. While there are recommended vehicle maintenance intervals for every vehicle from the manufacturer, you’ll want to alter them slightly if the miles are hard miles or easy miles. Hard miles are those where you are driving city miles, hauling loads, or working off road. Easy miles are those where you are cruising at steady speeds on highways and rural roads.
Keep Them Clean
Inside and out, cleanliness can make a vehicle safer, not to mention better-looking. Debris can roll around the cab and get stuck under the pedal, meaning it might not be able to be depressed when needed. Debris can also cause a distraction to the driver. On the outside, a clean, shiny vehicle is a visible vehicle. Visible vehicles are less likely to be involved in an accident.
Keeping your commercial vehicles safe, and well-tuned is keeping your business moving smoothly. While commercial auto insurance is there to help out in dire straits, if you follow these recommendations, there’s a good chance that you will not use the insurance that often. That leaves you more time for your daily business, taking care of your company.