You can avoid that possibility by conducting a thorough vehicle safety inspection prior to the beginning of the holiday season. A good inspection will also allow you to be aware of any maintenance needs that the vehicles of your fleet have, so they can be kept in optimal operating condition. It will also help you to budget for any kind of repairs or maintenance issues that need to be addressed in the coming weeks.
Here is a checklist of all the areas that should be addressed during your fleet vehicle safety inspection, so you can be sure that each vehicle will be in prime condition, and ready to face the traffic of the holiday season:
One of the most important areas to check are the vehicles’ brakes because they have such a direct bearing on the safety of your driver and vehicle. If the driver is unable to stop the vehicle or slow it down when traffic conditions require it, that can be a huge problem. Test the brakes by attempting to stop after having reached a speed of 30 mph, and test them again at normal highway speed. It’s also a good idea to check the width of the brake pads, and if they’re less than 1/8 inch wide, they should be replaced.
It’s fairly easy to check on the emergency brake, to ensure that it’s fully operational. Just drive the vehicle to the top of a small hill, and allow it to roll forward while you’re in neutral. Then just apply the emergency brake, to see if it immediately stops the vehicle and holds it in place.
Checking your bumpers is strictly a visual check for the most part. It calls for a close examination of the front and rear bumpers, to make sure that they are completely secure, and that they won’t fall off while the vehicle is being operated. If any kind of damage has been sustained by either bumper, this should be noted and repaired at the earliest opportunity.
The horn on the vehicle can be a very useful feature, and can also help to ensure the safety of your driver. Sometimes while driving in traffic, it becomes necessary to alert other motorists to the fact that you are there, or to alert them that they’re about to make a mistake. Engage the horn to make sure that the sound it makes is loud enough to be heard, so it will reach the ears of other drivers.
In many states, the use of seat belts is required, and in all cases, they are one of the most important safety features in any vehicle. If your driver should be involved in any kind of accident, the seat belt may be the one feature that saves his/her life and prevents the driver from being ejected from the vehicle. Make sure the seat belts are working correctly, and that they can be fastened securely around your driver.
Defrosters and Heating
Any vehicle’s defrosters can actually be a powerful safety feature in certain weather conditions. If the windshield becomes foggy or otherwise obscured, it can cause a dangerous situation with your driver’s visibility. While the heating system is not really a safety feature, it will definitely contribute to your driver’s comfort, so the heating system should be tested as well.
In some areas, you are actually required to supply your fleet vehicles with certain types of emergency equipment, but even if there are no requirements, it’s a great safety feature to have on board. A few of the supplies which you should include on your fleet vehicles are a first aid kit, a flashlight, a blanket, a fire extinguisher, flares, and a warning triangle.
Vehicle lights are extremely important, especially for nighttime driving, but they’re also important for signaling your intentions to other drivers. Make sure all headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals are fully operational and can be seen by drivers in front or behind you.
Virtually all drivers use their mirrors to monitor traffic around them, and that makes them very important to vehicle operation. Make sure that all side mirrors and rearview mirrors are installed and in good condition. While you’re checking on the mirrors, you should also check on any controls which the vehicle has for adjusting those mirrors, so it’s not necessary for the driver to physically adjust the mirror itself.
The importance of your vehicle’s tires can hardly be overstated since a problem with anyone of them might very well trigger an accident on the roadway. Make sure that all tires on the vehicle have sufficient tread, and that the tires match each other, so that braking can be even and smooth.
You might have the finest products on the market installed as tires and wheels on your vehicles, but if they aren’t aligned, it will still cause operational problems. Check the wheel alignment to ensure that it’s up to standard, and will not cause one side or the other to be favored while driving. You should also make sure that the vehicle is equipped with a good spare tire, and that the necessary tools are on board for changing a tire, should it become necessary.
Lastly, check on the fluid levels required by your vehicle for good operation. Engine oil level is especially crucial, so as to prevent the engine from overheating. It can also be very important to have the right level of windshield washer available when things get muddy or dusty on the road. Transmission oil is another fluid level you should check so that you know it’s at an acceptable level.