Dealing with a breakdown - What do drivers need to know?

Any experienced fleet manager understands just how important it is to keep drivers safe on the road, but there are times when trouble is unavoidable - such as a breakdown.

When a vehicle runs into trouble on the road there are of course a number of issues such as repair costs and business delays, but driver safety needs to be a top priority.

That's why those in charge of vehicle fleets need to start thinking about educating drivers on the best courses of action following a breakdown.

Getting the procedure right

If the car has definitely run into trouble, either due to overheating or some other mechanical issue, the most important response is getting off the road as soon as possible.

On a motorway, this means pulling out of a lane and onto the shoulder. If possible, it's a good idea to get off at an exit to avoid the dangers of fast vehicles. On regular roads, either pull over to the side or even navigate to a quiet side street.

Once parked, drivers should place hazard lights on and then phone for roadside assistance. In addition, drivers should place either cones or warning triangles behind the vehicle to alert other drivers to the problem. This is important even if the car is on the side of the road.

Of course, fleet managers can also teach drivers useful tips to make a breakdown less of an issue.

Replacing a tyre

While it's usually out of the question with larger vans and trucks, drivers can easily replace car tyres with the right knowledge. It can seem complicated at first for drivers, but it only takes a few minutes for a fleet manager to explain how to swap out a punctured tyre.

This could be the difference between a driver waiting on the side of the road for help to arrive, or continuing to a nearby mechanic on a spare tyre.

Keeping drivers safe should always be a priority for fleet managers, and a large part of this is regular fleet maintenance. Having a certified professional inspect a vehicle regularly, topping up fluids and checking for problems, could help to identity and then fix any issues before a breakdown occurs.

With roads being such dangerous places, it's important for fleet managers to start thinking about the necessity of driver safety during a breakdown.