Driver training can help reduce unnecessary wear and tear on cars and vans caused by driving style or lack of care
Declining parts availability has led to increases in replacement prices and off-road time for fleets, according to BVRLA’s half-year Industry Outlook Survey1. With 92% of the BVRLA survey respondents reporting an increase in vehicle downtime, Venson Automotive Solutions is urging fleet managers to address driver bad habits which commonly cause unnecessary damage to the transmission, clutch, suspension or other expensive parts without the driver realising it’s happening.
Some of the most popular driving habits which cause avoidable damage include using gears to slow down, especially at higher speed instead of braking, heavy acceleration on a cold engine or in high gears, heavy braking and leaving a foot resting on the clutch. Overloading the vehicle, hitting potholes or speed bumps at speed or ignoring dashboard warning lights can also lead to costly damage.
Avoiding unnecessary vehicle damage can be avoided if drivers are regularly reminded of how they can improve their driving behaviour and how to maintain their vehicle to ensure it remains fit for purpose for as long as possible. Businesses relying on employees to drive company vehicles or their own cars for business purposes should consider daily or weekly vehicle walk round checks that can be recorded using an App and introducing driver training as part of continual professional development, to not only reduce avoidable damage to vehicles but also to help highlight how it increases driver safety and the efficiency of the fleet.
“We are probably all guilty of some laziness or bad habits behind the wheel from time to time,” commented Simon Staton, Director of Client Management at Venson. “Most of us will be entirely unaware that we are damaging our car when we leave a hand resting on the gear stick after changing gear, or shift into reverse while still moving forward, for example. With budgets already stretched, the last thing fleet managers need is to be paying for avoidable vehicle repairs or end of lease wear-and-tear charges caused by driver induced damage.”
Bad habits can creep in soon after a driver passes their driving test and takes to the road independently for the first time, so some will take time to change. However, regular reminders through ongoing driver training, and a requirement for employees to carry out basic maintenance checks will help bring about change more quickly and better protect vehicles from anything other than the usual unavoidable wear-and-tear.
Staton continued: “We would encourage fleet managers to ensure that their drivers receive regular refresher training as well as reminders about maintenance requirements and what faults must be reported. To add further budget protection, fleet managers could also consider implementing a fleet policy that recharges damage repair fees back to repeat offenders if issues are not reported when they happen.”