Safe driving requires safe vehicles. Most fleet operators and private motorists understand the critical need to maintain vehicles in good working order. However, sometimes this is left to the annual WOF check as the standard – and that’s not good enough, or often enough. All drivers must take responsibility for vehicle safety every dayModern motor vehicles are high-speed high-technology on wheels. Construction is very sophisticated and the unibody design is an integrated single unit, each component dependant on the others to maintain maximum safety and performance. This includes WINDSCREENS.
Some drivers ignore windscreen scratches, “stars” and even small cracks – do so at your peril. Windscreens are an integral part of the structural integrity of the vehicle. Windscreen glass is manufactured for strength and solidly bonded to the frame of the vehicle. Defective windscreens therefore pose a significant threat to driver safety. In the event of a crash a damaged screen will fail and can result in exacerbated structural damage to the car – and that means increased risk of injury to drivers and passengers.
Even a chip detracts from structural integrity, and will also quickly become a “star” or even a large crack, further detracting from the vehicle’s strength. A damaged windscreen doesn’t just obstruct the driver’s view. Even in a moderate crash the glass is much more likely to shatter or completely collapse. That would weaken the roof & front pillars, reducing passenger protection in a frontal impact. Or worse, the roof could be easily crushed in a roll-over crash.
Vehicles will fail a WOF inspection if a windscreen has a crack or “star” over 25mm, about the size of a $2 coin. Any damage at all in the driver’s direct visual sight area is also an immediate WOF fail. When windscreen damage is noted, act immediately – call CRASH MANAGEMENT for same day service and on-site repair or replacement.
It is best practice to fully walk around a vehicle and check for obvious damage before a journey. Even the smallest windscreen defect, whether directly in the driver’s sight line or not, should be repaired immediately to prevent further windscreen failure. Also use good driving skills when following other vehicles carrying any load or cargo whether tied down or not. And increase your following distance on roads with loose gravel to avoid impact with flying material.
Driving for work purposes classifies the vehicle as a place of work, so the same H&S standards apply to cars as for the office, factory, or other worksite. All businesses are familiar with the Health & Safety at Work Act, its implications and penalties for failure. Unfortunately, not all apply the same standards and controls into the vehicle fleet. This is a wide-spread problem in New Zealand and needs urgent reconsideration by both fleet operators and the professional Health & Safety sector.
Employees are also responsible, as the H&S Act also holds drivers accountable as the vehicle user. It is strongly recommended that drivers personally check windscreens and overall vehicle condition, and ensure any repair work is completed promptly. Private motorists are strongly advised to apply the same safety standards to their own vehicles, take responsibility, and help make our roads safer.
Windscreens, along with all other fleet vehicle components and body work, must be maintained in an undamaged condition to reduce safety hazards, potential liability, and protect drivers. Drivers must have a basic understanding of the vehicle they drive, know what defects to look for, how to prevent them, and why regular checks are important.
Crash Management can help with a robust 24/7 fleet accident management programme fully tailored to your business operating requirements and budget, starting from less than $1/wk. See more at https://crashmanagement.co.nz/corporate-government-fleets/. Then contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion. Out-sourcing the time-consuming administration of accident prevention, 24/7 emergency response and repair management including free replacement vehicles is both cost and time effective. Talk to Crash Management now.