Vehicles have become an essential business tool, but this doesn’t mean that they are exempt from damage during their use. Since your business vehicle is used for both personal and business tasks, it’s crucial to take steps to ensure that any damages incurred can be handled effectively and promptly. If you’re on the road all day, every day, running around town on business, you’re going to be putting plenty of wear and tear on your vehicle. From spending money on maintenance to taking safety precautions while driving, here are eight ways to reduce the risk of damaging your business vehicle.
Park in Well-lit Areas
Before you hop out of your vehicle, take a good look around and make sure you’re in a well-lit spot. You should also ensure that you’re not parked near any other cars. If someone does decide to break into your car and steal something, there’s no way they can get away without being seen by others. Try parking at homes with security lights if you think that might be an issue at work or home.
Keep the Vehicle Clean
From drivers who aren’t aware that their brake lights are out to drivers who haven’t cleared their windshields after a heavy snowstorm, you want to do your best to be aware and avoid risky behaviors when you drive your business vehicle. Make it a point to always clear snow and ice from your car, keep your windshield clean to allow yourself a wide field of vision while on the road, and make sure all lights are in working order before hitting the road.
Mandatory Seat Belt Use
Always wear your seat belt. This is by far the easiest way to reduce risk and prevent an accident. You’ll feel more secure knowing you have something holding you in place in case of a collision. If you’re unsure whether your seat belt is fastened correctly, take it to your nearest repair shop for assistance. Most accidents can be avoided if everyone buckles up, so ensure every passenger uses their seat belt even if they are riding on your lap!
Provide Training for Your Drivers
If your company has a few full-time employees who do most of your driving, consider giving them some training on how to drive safely. You can organize a time for an experienced driver from another company or department—ideally one with a strong safety record—to speak with them about their roles as business drivers and ways they can reduce risk. If you work in a small enough business, you may be able to handle it yourself; either way, all your employees must be adequately trained.
Keep It Well-maintained
The obvious first step is to keep your vehicle well-maintained and ensure it’s in good running condition. If you regularly take your car into a shop for regular tune-ups and checkups, then you’re already doing most of what you can do when it comes to maintenance—but there are several other steps you can take as well.
For instance, if there are leaks or holes in your tires that could cause problems down the road, repair them right away. If there are cracks in your auto glass, you’d better have your windshield replaced now rather than after an accident. It’s a must to replace broken glass for the safety of your driver and anyone on the road; the same goes for oil changes, belts, hoses, spark plugs, and filters.
Lock and Secure Doors at All Times
One theft prevention tip is to make sure you lock your doors at all times when leaving your vehicle, even if you’re stepping away for a moment. Make sure that all windows are up and that car alarms are on. It’s also important not to leave anything in plain sight, such as paperwork or packages. If a thief sees something in plain sight, they may assume there is more hidden somewhere inside.
Zero Tolerance for Alcohol
Having a drink or two before driving isn’t going to significantly alter your ability behind the wheel. If you consume alcohol and then drive, you’re risking everything—your business, finances, and your life. It’s better not to take that risk at all. Besides, there are plenty of things you can do in place of drinking that will improve your mood without endangering others. Plus, they won’t leave you with a hangover. It applies to your employees and drivers, too!
Establish Procedure in Case of an Accident
Accidents happen. No matter how well you drive, how little you sleep, or how careful you are in inclement weather, accidents happen. When an accident involving your business vehicle occurs, it’s important to have a protocol for contracting authorities and taking care of yourself as well as possible until further help arrives. Ensure that all drivers know where your company’s contact information is kept and that they have easy access to it. If they have car trouble while out on their own with your vehicle, they should be able to get in touch with someone immediately who can send help if needed.
Although car accidents can and do happen, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk for damage. For instance, paying attention while driving can help you see potential hazards before they rear their ugly heads. Wearing your seat belt keeps you safe in case an accident does occur, while regularly checking all lights, warning systems, and fluid levels will keep your vehicle functioning smoothly on those drives.