Road accidents can be disastrous for truckers. A delivery vehicle may be out of commission for weeks and that is before repair costs. Loss of cargo leads to deteriorating customer relationships and shrinking orders. Add the impact on company insurance premiums and it becomes clear that avoiding accidents goes beyond driver safety. Northbridge investigated the Top 5 heavy vehicle insurance claims and uncovered the five factors behind them.
#1 Most Common Truck Insurance Claim: Being Rear-Ended
Average 2014 Claim $12,000
Distracted driving and fatigue cause vehicle operators to miss the obvious. This includes low bridges and huge vehicles looming out of darkness or mist. Avoid expensive insurance claims by taking defensive measures. Passive methods include applying large quantities of reflective tape and adding extra stoplights. Drivers must know when to turn on hazards. It is their duty to drive cautiously under conditions of poor visibility. Thinking for the driver behind is part of the job.
#2 Most Common Claim: Rolling Over
Average 2014 Insurance Claim $93,000
Frequent causes of trucks rolling over are distracted driving, speeding on bends, hitting curbs and shifting loads disturbing balance. These truck insurance claims may result from fatigue, recklessness or chasing delivery deadlines. In most cases, this is down to drivers not spotting warning signs. While they may share blame, the root cause is poor management. Refresher training should be part of the operational cycle. To hold your truck insurance costs down make sure you hire skilled drivers and avoid setting unreasonable deadlines.
#3 Most Common Truck Insurance Claim: Backing Up and Colliding
Average 2014 Claim $2,500
The primary causes of these collisions are blind spots and low visibility. These truck insurance claims often originate in delivery yards and loading bays. Drivers must think ahead and ideally step out vehicles to check distance and height restrictions. If they do not understand where they are offloading they are more likely to have maneuvering problems. Every situation is different. Provide a co-driver or arrange assistance to avoid a truck insurance claim.
#4 Most Common Claim: Rear-Ending Another Vehicle
Average 2014 Truck Insurance Claim $20,000
Large vehicles used for haulage take more time to bring to a stop, especially when fully loaded. Small vehicles close up front may not be visible from the cab. It can take a truck four times longer to stop than a passenger car. Tailgating is a recipe for truck insurance claims under busy conditions. The solution is maintaining safe stopping distance and having a braking system in top-top condition. If you have telematics on your vehicles study the reports and take appropriate action.
#5 Most Common Truck Insurance Claim: Sideswiping
Average 2014 Claim $7,500
Most truck insurance claims for sideswipes come down to mirrors and sitting positions. Train your drivers to sit correctly to minimize blind spots. Encourage them to do visibility checks before they drive off. Bigger vehicles have more blind spots. Every design is different. A driver should not move to a different truck or hook an unfamiliar trailer without first checking visibility. Thinking ahead is the key to avoiding truck insurance claims.
Heavy vehicle accidents are an overhead to avoid. The Northbridge Insurance study puts the spotlight on proactive management and drivers trained to be alert. Ongoing refresher training can cost less than one truck insurance deductible. Running a successful haulage company is about being alert to trends. Remember the safety pyramid. If you suspect your safety culture is deteriorating, intervene directly. There is no such thing as an accident. A collision is an admission of failure and it shows on the bottom line.