Whether you manage drivers for work, or a driver yourself, there's a few basic things to remember before you take out a company vehicle, or use your own vehicle for work.
Here's a quick list of the minimum checks you should complete before you use a vehicle:
Petrol (or other type of fuel)
Making sure your vehicle has enough fuel to complete your journey seems obvious. You'd be surprised however to find that people running out of fuel on journeys is still very much a common occurrence on our roads. If you share a vehicle with another driver, they may not have left you enough, so it's best to double check.
Not checking the vehicle's oil level before you start is common amongst company drivers who may be under strict deadlines and time pressures. Oil is the life-blood of an engine and without it, you're not going anywhere so best to check the level, just in case. Make sure that the engine is cold and you're on a reasonably level ground to get an accurate reading.
Whilst it's important for you to keep hydrated when you're driving around all day, the same is true for the fluid levels in your vehicle. Coolant levels, brake fluid levels and windscreen washer levels can all be checked quickly to make sure you're good to go.
Modern vehicles are full of so much technology that 'electrics' doesn't sound like an easy thing to check. We'll make it easier and just look at the basics we need for driving: lights around the vehicle (including fog lights and brake lights) and looking out for any dashboard warning lights that may highlight a bigger problem.
TYRES! Tyres are the only part of the vehicle making contact with the road, so they are one of the most important things to check. Making sure you have correctly inflated tyres (which may need adjusted depending on how much you're loading) and having the correct tread depth, is a crucial step in checking a vehicles roadworthiness. Tyres should also be in good condition with no bulges, slashes or tears.
Using the P.O.W.D.E.R. mnemonic will help you remember the basic checks you should carry out before you take out a vehicle but we find that many companies (including us) have additional items on their vehicle checklists, so it's best to check if there's anything else.
Remember: It is you (as the driver) who is responsible for completing these checks, not the company or anyone else. If there are defects found on the vehicle if you are stopped, it's the driver that gets the fines and any penalty points.
If you employ staff with driving duties, you have a responsibility under Health & Safety at Work legislation to manage their road risk.
Making sure your employees understand both your company's and their own responsibilities for driving at work is a big challenge.
At Driver Training NI, we offer a range of on-road and classroom training courses to make sure your drivers are safe, trained and representing your brand the way you'd expect. Worried that you don't have an adequate Safe Driver Policy? We can help with that too. If you'd like to know more about how we can help your business, you can contact us by clicking here.