Each day, your fleet drivers perform their tasks like clockwork. Whether they’re making deliveries to clients or hauling freight hundreds of miles away, your drivers have their work cut out for them to stay safe and efficient. One of the best ways to improve safety and efficiency every day is with a vehicle pre-trip inspection checklist.
A pre-trip inspection checklist provides many benefits to your drivers. A proper checklist combined with a modern cataloging process can benefit your entire business, too. Read on to learn the essential parts of every pre-trip checklist:
At the top of your driver’s pre-trip inspection checklist should be checking and recording the odometer reading. You’ll be able to compare this number to the reading at the end of the trip to ensure your drivers are completing their trips in the shortest route possible, which can save your company money on fuel costs.
Checking the odometer also helps you keep track of your preventive maintenance schedule. If you know your trucks need an oil change or any other type of maintenance after a certain number of miles, the odometer reading will tell you without any question whether it’s time to bring a truck into the shop.
The pre-trip inspection is the perfect opportunity for your driver to inspect their vehicle’s safety features. These features can be the difference between life and death when your drivers are on the open road, especially during times of inclement weather. Make sure your pre-trip checklist includes the following:
A comprehensive pre-trip checklist is full of important safety checks, and one of the most important of these is checking the vehicle’s tires. Tires are the key to getting each driver to their destination. Making sure your fleet’s tires are in good shape can prevent downtime and increase driver safety.
When inspecting tires before a trip, drivers should check for proper pounds per square inch (PSI) of inflation. This will ensure the longevity of the tires while also helping your vehicles get more efficient gas mileage. Drivers should also inspect the tire tread depth. Good tread helps tires have more traction on the road and ensures the tires stay far from balding and blowing out.
If your fleet will be on the road throughout the night, functioning lights and reflectors are a must. Make sure you include checking these features on your drivers’ pre-trip checklist. Your drivers will encounter other people during their travels, and it’s important these other drivers can easily see your fleet on the road.
On the darkest nights, civilian drivers will rely on the full visibility of your fleet for a safe trip to their destinations. Likewise, your fleet drivers want to reach clients on time without any accidents. Have your drivers check all lights and reflectors before getting behind the wheel to ensure maximum security during transit.
This may sound basic, but taking a walk around the vehicle and giving it a visual inspection is an important and often overlooked part of pre-trip inspections. Your drivers should get into the habit of checking the body of their vehicle for scratches, dents and other issues.
Making notes and taking pictures of these possible safety concerns can help drivers manage their safety liability and prevent more serious issues while on the road. This is also crucial if your drivers spend lengths of time parked or if drivers change vehicles at any time. Tracking the chain of custody with visual inspections will let you know when the damage occurred and help you fix any safety issues as soon as possible.
Always make sure your fleet’s fluids are at appropriate levels like you would with your personal vehicles. Keeping track of fluids like engine oil, coolant and windshield washer fluid could make the difference between a vehicle that performs well on every trip and one that is constantly breaking down. Minimize repairs and keep your drivers as efficient as possible by making fluid checks a part of your pre-trip checklist.
Every vehicle pre-trip inspection checklist should also include inspecting the battery. Your drivers may assume their vehicle’s batteries are fine if the vehicle starts. And while this does mean the battery is functioning, inspecting the battery can reveal other issues that could lead to unnecessary downtime.
Have your drivers check the battery mounting hardware, cables and terminals before every trip. Doing this will allow drivers to detect signs of corrosion and establish better connections where loose connections may be. Every driver should document any voltage issues so your maintenance crew can address the issue as soon as possible.
Functioning brakes are essential for every moving vehicle on the road. This is even more true for operations that rely on fleets of vehicles to stay in business. Your pre-trip checklist must include a comprehensive brake inspection to ensure the safety of your drivers — and other drivers — when going from point A to point B.
If your drivers discover any issues during the brake inspection, they can document them and let maintenance know. This can decrease downtime and ensure your drivers stay as safe as possible. The last thing you want is a faulty set of brakes when one of your drivers needs them most.
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