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No one likes being stuck by the side of the road. If you're a driver with a busy schedule, waiting for roadside assistance is something you can't afford to do. For fleet owners and operators, a stranded driver can mean unexpected expenses, missed stops and frustrated customers.
But breakdowns do happen. In fact, this year Highways England reported a five year high in the number of vehicle breakdowns, and while there are many reasons why this can happen, three in particular come up time and again:
According to the RAC, by far the biggest reason for callouts is to deal with flat tyres, blowouts and any other damage that requires a wheel change.
However, the majority of tyre-related breakdowns are preventable. To avoid roadside breakdowns and ultimately extend the life of tyres, you and your drivers should check they are at the correct pressure. Tyres that are 10% underinflated cause tread life to decrease by 9-16% according to Goodyear. Also, check for any splits or wear and tear – especially if vehicles are shared between staff as you can’t guarantee everyone is taking equal care of them.
Battery failure remains a very common problem, particularly in winter when weather conditions are often cold and unpredictable. In 2015 alone there were almost 50,000 callouts from business drivers who had a breakdown as a result of a flat battery.
This is why it’s imperative that before leaving a vehicle your drivers should switch everything off. Furthermore, battery terminals should be inspected whenever the vehicle is serviced and checked annually after they’ve been in use for three years.
3. Mechanical faults
Many roadside breakdowns occur because of minor problems but each year a significant percentage of calls for roadside assistance are due to potentially dangerous mechanical issues – 17.91% according to Autonational’s Car Breakdown Statistics 2017.
The good news is, with advanced fleet management software you could avoid nasty surprises with engine diagnostics codes, sent directly to the fleet manager as soon as they occur. Reduce the likelihood of minor mechanical issues from becoming bigger problems whilst also reducing costs associated with downtime, repairs and major wear and tear.
Want to help protect your drivers?
It’s clear that poorly maintained vehicles are not only unsafe but can also lead to hefty repair bills and increased fuel consumption. However, taking a proactive approach to preventative maintenance can help to reduce the risk of roadside breakdowns.
With a fleet management solution in place like Verizon Connect Reveal, you could generate vehicle maintenance alerts for your own service department or local dealership and help keep your vehicles in a good condition. You can also help your team improve their driving habits and encourage gamification – which in return may improve their driver behaviour and keep your vehicles on the road safer, for longer.