For most organisations, fleet managers especially, surrendering cheap van insurance policies due to avoidable accidents is one of their greatest causes of chagrin. One such accident that falls into that category is, without a doubt, reversing into something (or someone) due to lack of due care and attention.
According to a report by Interactive Driving Systems, who studied 79,403 records going back over twenty years worth of fleet vehicle insurance claims, reversing is one of the top five causes for claims against fleet insurance policies, with the level of risk increasing as the size of the fleet vehicle increases.
For a normal company car, reversing accounted for 13% of all claims; that figure rose by 2% for light commercial vehicle insurance claims and went as high as 19% for heavier trucks and vans, causing IDS to issue a stern warning for all fleet drivers, especially to exercise caution when backing up on a customer or supplier’s premises. Nothing could make a worse impression on a potential customer than the rep reversing into the MD’s prize Jaguar in his anticipation to get the details of his potential commission uploaded to the cloud at the nearest Little Chef!
Andy Cuerden, spokesman for Interactive Driving Systems, warned against complacency when travelling backwards and the fact that hardly anyone recognises a reversal collision as a serious driving offence; however, if the damage is severe enough it can blot a previously clear copybook for a moment’s carelessness, harking back to the original point of budget constraints and the importance of holding on to cheap van insurance policies if driving history avails the company to that prestigious goal.
Reversing aids, for the insignificant cost, could be a worthwhile investment if the type of vehicle the fleet drives is prone to reversing catastrophes; it may well enable the fleet manager to negotiate further discount from the van insurance provider by having this simple sensor fitted to susceptible vehicles.
Further to the warning, here is a check list provided for good habits to get into before reversing out of a tight spot:
• Try to park the van in such a way that reversing out is not necessary, initially
• Check all the way around the vehicle before getting into the driving seat to spot any obstacle in the blind spot(s)
• Beware children and animals, not only on the film set, but they can be unpredictable around parked cars, too
• Rear-view and wing-mirrors are there for a reason, not just to apply your lipstick or eyeliner, Barry – use them properly
• Keep the reversing distance as short as possible and take it slowly
• You may be reversing but keep your eye on what the front and bonnet of the van/car is coming into close proximity to, too
• Trailers and articulated bolt-ons such as generators have minds of their own – practise makes perfect
All of these reversing best practises are designed to prevent accidents and keep your fleet car and van insurance quotes the way they should be: cheap, cheerful and claim free.