Managing a fleet of vehicles is inherently stressful. Whether you’re in charge of a fleet of semi trucks, school buses, ATVs or ice cream trucks, there are always risks that come along with overseeing a fleet of vehicles.
Unexpected vehicle repairs seem to come up often. Normal wear and tear is always an issue. Drivers sometimes forget or neglect to report defects early. High gas prices can lead to cutting corners. Accidents happen. Extreme weather events usually lead to damaged vehicles.
There’s a long list of things that lead to risk for your fleet, which is why you should take extra steps to mitigate risks as much as possible.
Here are five steps you can take to lower risk in your fleet:
Get Vehicle Fleet Tracking
Losing a vehicle in your fleet is never fun. Maybe it’s a logging truck left behind deep in the forest or just a service SUV stranded in a never-ending parking garage, either way vehicle fleet tracking would help you find a way to relocate the lost vehicles.
What is vehicle fleet tracking? Basically, it is GPS tracking devices that get installed in the vehicles and are linked to the server by a gateway device or a smartphone app. Many services provide real-time updates on the asset as well. Once installed, you can just check from your phone to see where the asset is.
This is a great way to mitigate theft affecting your business and can lower insurance costs since you have constant proof of the asset’s location.
Fix Defects Early
Don’t wait to fix vehicle problems! Yes, get that slight rattle or creaking noise taken care of before it costs way more later on. And the heightened price won’t even be the worst problem if the vehicle defect spreads and causes more damage.
The main downside of being super vigilant about repairs is having fewer trucks on the road because some of them are in the shop. But is that really a huge downside compared to the risk of having multiple faulty vehicles driving around?
Sure, there’ll be a few less cars in rotation, but you will save money and lower stress in the long run. Not every company is the same and sometimes every truck is needed for certain occasions, but as a general rule it’s a good idea to be very attentive on vehicle repairs.
Install Backup Cams
If your fleet has newer vehicles that already have backup cams, then forget about this. If not, then you might want to look into backup cameras for your fleet.
Safely backing up cars is one of the hardest things a driver can do. Make it easier for them with backup cams. There will be fewer fender benders and collisions and your drivers will feel more comfortable knowing what’s behind them.
Review Safety Procedures with Crew
Every workplace has rules but over time sometimes the details get lost and not every guideline is enforced. If that sounds like your business, then it would be a good idea to go over company safety procedures with your staff.
Everyone can always use a refresher. Your drivers likely know the main safety rules well, but there are probably some regulations that have been neglected or forgotten so a reminder could do some good.
For example, drivers often fail to sufficiently complete pre- and post-trip inspection reports. It can be a minor inconvenience to fill them out, but diligently recording every deficiency on a vehicle is beneficial long term because small problems won’t pile up and become big problems later on.
Take some time to review safety procedures with your crew. They might give you some grief for another meeting but it will be worth it in the future.
Revisit Your Main Routes
Changing up your vehicles’ routes could be a way to lower risk. Maybe you run a landscaping company and your trucks often go through the most heavily-trafficked street in town.
Going on a street that busy could lead to more accidents, so avoiding that street as much as possible could significantly lower the risk of a collision. Same principle with pothole-laden roads.
This is not an option for some companies for a variety of reasons. If you’re working in remote areas in the wilderness there is often just one road (hopefully paved) in and out so you obviously can’t go another way. A busy road that saves drivers significantly more time than side streets also would be tough to scrap.
There may not be any reasonable routes to change for your company, but you can always revisit the company routes to see if there are any particularly unsafe or hazardous routes in use.