Remember as a kid in school you would be asked to do an assignment and before handing it in you would check it and sometimes double check or triple check it to ensure there was nothing wrong with it? Like many people, we’ve brought those checking and double checking skills with us through life. After making a grocery list we check to ensure we’ve listed all we need. Even Santa made a list. And checked it twice might I add. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t bother checking their vehicles before they get in and drive away. After all, nothing could go wrong, right? Wrong.
If you’ve listened or watched the news you’ll hear how wheels of large trucks have come off the trailer and crash into vehicles. When that happens and it hits another vehicle, it creates huge damage to that vehicle, creates serious injury and even death to its occupants. Recently that was just the case. The driver of the SUV which was struck by a truck tire was killed, which is such a tragedy. But could it be avoided? Here’s more info; http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/01/27/one-critically-injured-after-tire-hits-vehicle-on-hwy-400.html
Commercial drivers must always do a pre-trip vehicle inspection. The purpose of the pre-trip Inspection is to be able to do a thorough safety inspection on a commercial vehicle before heading out onto the roadway. This takes a bit of time, but it ensures the vehicle is safe to operate and that nothing is missing or worn. Commercial drivers know this, but some fail to do it all the time. Don’t get me wrong, most commercial drivers take their responsibility seriously and know the importance of the pre-trip inspections. But those few who try to speed things up – there’s a problem. Here’s an example of the pre-trip inspection form commercial drivers should fill out; http://roadsafetyatwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Daily-Pre-trip-Inspection-and-Mileage-Log-V1-May-28-14.pdf
These pre-trip inspections don’t have to be limited to drivers of these big rigs. Drivers of all passenger vehicles and light duty vehicles including work trucks can all do these inspections. Walking around your vehicle prior entering it can help ensure it’s safe to drive away and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to get the job done.
For the drivers of passenger vehicles and light duty service vehicles, let’s start at the back of the vehicle. Ensure your licence plate is visible but also ensure the sticker is valid and secure. Also ensure the trunk is closed, window cleared off, lights are clear and at some point, ensure the taillights, brake lights, reverse lights and signals all work. You can’t communicate so well if they aren’t working. If you’re carrying a load, ensure the load tied down properly so nothing can move away from the vehicle during its travels. Also ensure the load you have on your vehicle does not exceed government restrictions. For example, in Ontario a pickup truck can’t exceed a gross weight of more than 4,500 kg. if the pickup is not used for work purposes.
The sides of the vehicle come next. Ensuring the windows and mirrors are clear is important, but after that ensure the doors are properly closed, there’s no visible damage to the vehicle and you’ll need to check the wheels. Look for obvious under inflation and for wear to the tires. Front wheel direction ensures you’re not surprised by the direction the vehicle moves once you release the brake pedal. While driving, if you feel or hear a vibrating noise, don’t ignore it. Get it checked before something much worse happens.
This takes us to the front of the vehicle. Ensure the windshield is clear and the wipers are not obstructed with snow and ice in winter and not with leaves and twigs during the other seasons. They can decrease the use of the wipers and cause quicker wear to them. Not to mention they won’t work so well and can reduce the driver’s visibility. Ensure the headlights are clear and that there are no obstructions in front of the vehicle. This ensures you won’t run over anything as you begin moving. A quick glance to ensure the hood is closed in case someone checked under the hood since you last left your vehicle.
For the average driver, doing a mechanical check once a month is a good idea to all the lights work and checking the fluid levels as well will ensure you can catch any problems before they really begin being a problem. These are all proactive things every driver should do prior to entering their vehicle. If there’s nothing wrong with the vehicle it actually takes between 15 and 20 seconds to perform this inspection. We know commercial drivers take longer. They have more to do. So please be that professional driver and preform those inspections. You won’t regret it if you do…but may regret it if you don’t.