“How do I get my drivers to care about tire maintenance?” Fleet managers have been asking this question for generations.
Checking tire pressure on 18 wheels can take a good 20 minutes. And for most drivers, that’s time they aren’t being paid to work. So, when it comes to tire safety, many drivers phone it in. They’ll thump their tires with a club or skip checking the pressure on their inside tires.
They don’t realize how much they’re actually paying to save those 20 minutes.
In the best-case scenario, drivers lose out on gas mileage and tire life. That means more frequent stops for fuel and repairs — quickly eating up the time they saved. And if the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) catches them with violations, they could be pulled out of service entirely.
The worst-case scenario involves jackknifing, rollovers, and other potentially fatal accidents. Trucking is consistently named one of the most dangerous jobs in America for a reason!
With so much on the line, fleet managers must get their drivers on board with tire maintenance. And while every fleet is different, we have a few ideas to help you get started.
Statistics can shock us into sobriety — until we’ve heard the same ones 50 times. At that point, we can start tuning them out. So, find ways to bring those statistics to life. Share news stories of accidents and discuss them with your drivers. Dig into what might have gone wrong. Encourage them to talk about similar mistakes they’ve made and how they can avoid them in the future. You can even anonymize incidents within your fleet and share them.
There are two strategies at work here. First, we naturally remember stories better than statistics. The story of a mom being killed by a lost tire sits in your mind far longer than a simple percentage. Second, talking about mistakes within your fleet makes the dangers feel closer to home. It’s hard to be lulled into a false sense of security when you know how many close calls your fleet has had.
If you can’t pay drivers for their time doing tire checks, consider other incentives. Can you give a seasonal bonus to drivers who had no tire failures? Or create a seasonal raffle with entries for every haul without a tire failure? If not, consider verbal recognition for drivers with good records.
The key is finding ways to show that you value your drivers’ time and diligence. When people are truly appreciated, their performance tends to rise. Even better if you can show that appreciation while adding a little fun to the process. Look at your budget and see what’s possible.
If drivers are skipping tire checks to save time, they’re failing themselves. Underinflated tires force drivers to make more stops for fuel and repairs. Plus, drivers who don’t check their tires can face out-of-service orders and be taken off the road.
Make it clear to drivers that cutting corners doesn’t pay off. Show them the calculations. Educate them so they can see tire maintenance as a tool to build their own bottom line.
We’ve talked a lot about how much time tire checks take. But there is a way to make them much faster: tire monitoring systems, like Doran 360TM TPMS. You attach wireless sensors to each valve stem. The sensors then transmit pressure and temperature data to an in-cab display.
Unlike a billy club, Doran 360TM TPMS gives precise data every time. Unlike with a traditional gauge, drivers can get instant data on every tire position with the turn of a key. We’ve also equipped our system with a “Green Means GoodTM” indicator light that provides at-a-glance assurance that all tire inflation pressures are in a healthy range. And the system has built-in alarms for low pressure, rapid deflation, and high temperature events.
With a quality TPMS in place, checking tire pressure is effortless. Drivers are more likely to use it because they don’t lose any time on the road.
If you’re ready to make your drivers’ lives easier and your tires last longer, Doran has a TPMS solution for you. We equip every kind of truck and trailer combination, tankers, auto haulers, construction vehicles, and more.
Give us a call or send us a message to learn what TPMS can do for your fleet.