With so many vans, trucks and minibuses in our fleet of hire vehicles we have often seen at first hand the effects of poor driving styles. The problem is that, whether it’s a hire vehicle or not, there are cost involved in making good the damage caused by poor driving styles. These additional costs can lead, eventually, to us having to charge more for our services, which we do not want to do.
Although breaking bad habits can be challenging, doing so can reduce the cost of owning a vehicle and improve your driving experience, considerably.
We find that there are at least seven common mistakes drivers make:
Warming the engine
Many drivers who have been used to driving older cars like to leave their vehicle’s engine running for a few minutes to ‘warm the engine’ before starting their journey. Warming the engine before setting off is really not necessary. Modern automotive technology means that vehicles do not require warming up and doing so not only wastes fuel but can result in unnecessary and ultimately, costly, engine wear;
Unnecessarily rapid acceleration is often associated with poor driving and can be a contributing factor in road traffic accidents. It can also result in unwelcome wear and tear on the engine and can damage the clutch, reducing its lifespan;
Not changing gears
There is no excuse for this one! Drivers should change gears at the appropriate time. Failing to do so places unnecessary stress and strain on an engine. It is also another source of engine wear which means that it will be necessary to service the vehicle more frequently;
Cornering at speed
Cornering at speed as well as driving rapidly over uneven road surfaces such as potholes and traffic calming measures is a sign of bad driving. The cumulative effect of doing so may include damage to tyres, steering and suspension and perhaps, depending on road conditions, could even lead to the complete loss of control of the vehicle;
Breaking and stopping incorrectly
Breaking hard and stopping quickly can occur if a driver assesses road conditions incorrectly. Doing so repeatedly can wear out tyres, brake pads and rotors. So, in order to maximise the useful life of these component it is essential that drivers pay more attention to road conditions and brake smoothly when they wish to slow down and when they want to stop;
Riding the Clutch
Riding the clutch is a common problem with expensive consequences. It occurs when a driver keeps the clutch pedal partially depressed while driving. This causes wear on the disc and flywheel causing the clutch to fail, eventually. This means that the vehicle cannot be driven. The only solution is to replace the clutch which is a relatively involved and costly repair;
Tyre pressure is usually checked by your hire company between hires but if you have, or hire, a vehicle it make sense to ensure that its tyres are filled to the appropriate pressure at all times. Driving on under-inflated tyres is a relatively common bad driving habit that can lead to car accidents and it also increase fuel consumption.
Bad habits can be expensive and hard to break. However, a poor driving style reduces the lifespan of variety of different vehicle components and, clearly, every effort must be made to avoid them. Ultimately, they lead to what are, essentially, avoidable repairs. This makes the cost of owning a vehicle more expensive and the impact of bad driving on the hire industry could mean that hire companies would need to increase their rates as a consequence.