The sight of a blown out semi-truck tire on the side of the road is an all too common thing. Despite the fact that drivers should be checking their tires before and after every drive, they manage to pop with disturbing frequency. The resulting chaos can cause car accidents as tire debris litters the highway. On top of that, fleets have to dig deeper in their pocket to replace a tire out on the road than they would during preventative maintenance. The driver also loses several hours of work time while waiting on the repair.
However, tire blowouts are rarely the result of too old tires. A staggering 80 percent of tire failures on roads are the result of undetected under inflation. This tells fleets three important things:
- Those drivers weren’t performing thorough inspections prior to trips. If they were, they likely would’ve noticed the underinflated tires and addressed them.
- Those drivers also weren’t performing simple maintenance, meaning other areas of the truck may be in danger of failing as well.
- This expensive safety hazard is largely avoidable.
There are a few ways fleets can address this safety concern:
- Check tire pressure with the appropriate gauge on a weekly basis
- Ensure all drivers and maintenance employees know the correct inflation pressure—this information varies depending on the type of tire and wheel position
- Perform a daily basic tire inspection: look for bulges, penetrating objects, irregular wear, and check tread depth
Getting drivers onboard with weekly in-depth tire inspections can be a challenge. Many drivers view tire problems as a maintenance crew concern and don’t want to spend time checking them since they don’t get paid while doing so. However, reminding drivers that a blown tire can cost them several hours of unpaid time while waiting on the side of the road is much worse than spending thirty minutes once a week to avoid it.
Inspecting and maintaining tires can seem like unrewarding work, but the cost of overlooking them adds up fast: the cost of the tires and a roadside repair following a blowout, the loss of productivity, potential accidents and injuries resulting from the blowout, or reduced fuel economy from underinflated tires. In addition, drivers and fleets can accrue violations and fines for failing to maintain tires.
Fleets can help reduce the amount of time it takes for drivers to perform thorough checks by providing tire gauges and placing a sticker with the tire pressure info on the vehicle for easy reference. Some fleets have even invested in technological means of detecting underinflated tires. These systems are inexpensive and can signal to the driver that the tire pressure is too low before they pull out of the lot. More advanced systems can even re-inflate the tires for the driver to the appropriate pressure.
In addition to tire pressure, driver behaviors affect tire safety as well. Telematics can keep fleets up to date on those behaviors affecting tires such as harsh braking, fast acceleration, and more. Contact the experts at DriverCheck to learn how we can help improve your fleet’s safety.