It’s no surprise that vehicle damage is far too common in the fleet industry. The biggest factor that results in damage to truck rentals is the entitlement many fleet drivers feel toward the company vehicles they’re assigned to drive. This sense of entitlement often makes drivers negligent in taking care of their vehicles.
Various other factors lead to fleet damage as well, such as potholes, speeding, low tire pressure, towing more weight than the truck is built to handle, water, and even rocks and debris. All of these factors, combined with negligent and rash driving often culminate in vehicle damage. This damage then leads to costly repairs and maintenance, which affect the overall bottom line of the company and takes away from its profits.
Here are some ways in which you can avoid damage to truck rentals:
Put a Stop to Company Vehicle Abuse
Some fleet drivers fail to give their vehicles the respect and treatment they deserve. They believe that they are entitled to their vehicles and fail to see them as vessels that require care so that they can help them perform their job efficiently. This failure leads to negligent behavior, which then results in fleet damage.
This sense of entitlement and negligent behavior is found not just in younger fleet drivers but also among senior drivers. Their sense of entitlement varies a bit in that they think that their years of service somehow warrant them the right to own the vehicles.
At some level, senior fleet managers are also to blame here as they might give senior drivers the leeway to treat their vehicles however they want. This can be quite damaging to the fleet company and lead to extensive fleet damage over time.
The negligent and careless behavior of these fleet drivers results in losses for the company. It also affects the resale value of the trucks because of their damaged condition. Any cost that goes into reconditioning and refurbishing the vehicles also affects the overall fleet costs for the company.
Such drivers fail to see the vehicles as their responsibility and don’t care about following fleet policies, such as no-smoking. This is particularly true for drivers who are negligent and also chain-smokers. They disregard this rule and smoke inside the vehicle, which causes cigarette burns on the seat and floor of the cabin, which affects the resale value of the vehicle.
Stringent action needs to be taken against such drivers. This will help you set an example for all your drivers and help them understand that you expect them to take the utmost care of their vehicles.
Vocational Fleet Damage
When it comes to vocational fleets, drivers are even more likely to cause damage to truck rentals. This is because such drivers often blame the damage on the old condition of the vehicle and deny any involvement in the damage caused. This is where fleet management’s role becomes vital.
You need to make sure that all of your company vehicles are in mint condition and properly maintained. This will help you identify any fleet damage easily. It will also encourage fleet drivers to be more careful with the vehicles as well.
Enforce Your Fleet Policies
Improper training of drivers and operators is another reason for fleet damage. Operators often aren’t taught how to use the equipment properly, which leads to fleet damage. Overloading the vehicle with more weight than it’s designed to tow is another common reason behind fleet damage. This leads to unscheduled repairs and maintenance.
Similarly, reckless driving is also a big culprit that causes damage to your vehicles as it often results in preventable accidents. Your fleet driver has the most control to prevent any damage. They need to stay alert and maintain control of the vehicle and adjust their driving according to the demands of their surroundings.
All of this happens due to a lack of enforcement of fleet policies. The first step is to make your drivers aware of all your existing policies and teach them how to use the vehicles so that they remain in optimal condition. These policies will also help them understand things that will harm their vehicle and avoid them.
However, informing your drivers is only one step of the solution. The second, more important step, is to enforce these policies. Fleet managers need to implement strict consequences, such as penalties, for anyone who does not abide by the policies. To balance things out and to keep your employees happy, you need to reward those drivers who take proper care of their vehicles. You also need to conduct training sessions every few months and refresher sessions. If you keep a tight balance between enforcing fleet policies and keeping your drivers happy and content, then you’ll be able to minimize damage to truck rentals.
Avoid Pothole Damage
You need to ensure that your drivers are aware of their surroundings as well. They need to be wary of potholes that can cause harm to their vehicles, particularly if they’re driving at full speed. Potholes can damage the vehicle’s axle, alignment, tires, and all parts of the steering and suspension.
To prevent vehicle damage from potholes, teach your drivers the following tips:
- Avoid puddles at all costs as they could be hiding potholes
- Keep your tires properly inflated
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times and slow down on damaged pathways
Other Tips for Fleet Rental Drivers to Avoid Fleet Damage
Always watch out for rocks and flying debris by keeping a fair distance from other vehicles and trucks. Moreover, don’t let water enter your vehicle as interior water damage can lead the vehicle’s electrical systems to malfunction. Make sure to keep track of the weather as well and shut the windows and sunroof after each drive to avoid water from entering the cabin of your vehicle.
Driving with low tire pressure also increases the likelihood of fleet damage. It makes the tires more susceptible to sidewall damage and punctures. It can also decrease the control of the driver and makes it more difficult to maneuver the vehicle. So, make sure that your tires are properly inflated at all times.
To prevent damage to truck rentals, you need to enforce your fleet policies and ensure all your drivers are handling the vehicles assigned to them as responsibly as possible. You also need to provide your drivers and operators the right training to keep the vehicles away from harm. Doing all this will help you avoid costly and preventable repairs.