Everybody wants to keep their commercial vehicles roadworthy and safe. That’s why the driver’s “walk around check” of their truck and trailer is crucial, according to the recommendations made by several European government road safety agencies.
For example, the Irish Road Safety Authority(RSA) and the UK’s DVSA offer useful guides to keeping commercial vehicles roadworthy and safe. (sources: RSA guide and DVSA guide). Following these daily trailer inspection recommendations makes excellent commercial sense because routine safety checks will lead to fewer unexpected breakdowns.
Drivers on the frontline of “vehicle issues detection”
A driver knows his or her vehicle well, so is therefore likely to be the first to recognise any problems as they arise, or anticipate potential problems. The RSA in Ireland recommends that drivers should carry out a daily inspection of their vehicles. They need to report any faults or potential problems to the individual in their company with designated responsibility for roadworthiness and safety, which is typically the fleet manager. If there are any issues, they must be repaired and the vehicle must be declared safe before allowing the driver to set out on their journey.
The driver’s objective is to identify easily-spotted defects through a visual check. The aim is for a daily trailer inspection not for drivers to conduct in-depth investigations of the mechanics of their vehicles, as this is clearly the job of qualified technicians. Nevertheless, there is a legal obligation in most EU countries for the driver to conduct vehicle inspections. For example, the UK’s DVSA states that “failure to comply can lead to a prohibition, a fixed penalty and penalty points on your licence”.
What to look for
There are many helpful one page checklists for a daily trailer inspection which show what drivers should be looking out for such as the DVSA’s “HGV Drivers’ Walk Around Check” which are available online.
A view from the truck
In the truck itself, there are items that can be checked from the driver’s seat including the mirrors and glass, steering, brakes, the horn, visibility through the windows, excessive engine exhaust smoke, windscreen wipers and washers, warning lamps as well as lights and indicators. Stepping outside, the driver can check the exterior of the vehicle for fuel and oil leaks, the state of the battery and coupling security amongst other items.
Around the trailer
On the trailer, drivers need to inspect the electrical connections, brake lines, number plates, markers, reflectors, tyres and wheel fixings, the security of the trailer body and wings, the suspension, electrical connections and the security of the load. (source RSA)
TruckingInfo’s article entitled “9 Tips for Better Trailer Maintenance” is very helpful but the majority of their tips require more than just a visual check. That said, one of the tips “Wash your trailer regularly” seems particularly relevant, because the cleaner the trailer, the easier it is to spot any problems.
From trailer inspection to maintenance and repair
Once you and your drivers have identified any issues on your trailer(s), consider partnering with an expert such as TIP Trailer Services to whom you can outsource your maintenance and repairs. TIP is a highly experienced provider of trailer maintenance and repair programmes.
TIP’s maintenance programmes offer cost savings, flexibility and access to a large team of qualified technicians, trained in all the latest technologies, operating from a network of over 70 workshops across Europe and Canada.
To discuss outsourcing your trailer maintenance, please contact TIP to discover more about the wide range of services they can provide.