Sweat the small stuff: How to reduce fleet maintenance

When Australian fleet managers think of vehicle damage, chances are they imagine accidents that cause serious damage to their cars or trucks.

While large cities account for more than one-third (36 per cent) of all serious car accidents, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, there are other locations that can increase the demand for fleet maintenance if drivers aren't careful. 

For example, how many drivers are aware of the dangers associated with their parking spaces? Even a quick trip to a supermarket car park can result in expensive vehicle damage.

Car parks are havens for vehicle damage

According to research from insurance company IAG, shopping trolleys are a significant cause of damage, and can result in notable repair bills for unfortunate fleet managers. 

Shopping trolleys can reach speeds of 15 kilometres per hour.

The organisation discovered that shopping carts can accelerate up to 15 kilometres per hour if not stored properly. Whether they're left on a slope or picked up by a gust of wind, any impact with a vehicle won't go unnoticed. 

It seems like a joke, but IAG produced figures that reveal just how serious these incidents can become, especially for vehicles at the more expensive end of the spectrum. In these cases, IAG found that a rogue shopping trolley could cause up to $15,000 worth of damage. 

Thankfully, the average is a much less daunting $1,100. However, it's still a figure that can create fleet maintenance concerns

What other minor accidents are common in Australia?

Although serious accidents receive a lot of attention in Australia, minor incidents can be just as detrimental to a fleet's operations. Even dented bodywork can take a vehicle off the road for days at a time once it goes through the relevant panel and paint repair processes. 

According to Roads and Maritime Services NSW, rear-end collisions are the most common form of vehicle accident in Australia, often due to tail-gating. While many of these examples are low-speed incidents, they're still often substantial enough to cause vehicle damage and injure employees. 

Rear-end accidents can cause whiplash.Rear-end accidents can cause whiplash.

Likely results of rear-end collisions include whiplash and other head, neck and spinal trauma. 

The best way to avoid these types of accidents is to maintain a safe following distance at all times. If conditions deteriorate due to inclement weather, drivers should move back even further from the car in front.

Driver and vehicle safety involves more than just major accidents, as smaller incidents can be just as disruptive to fleet operations.