Helping your customers become more road-safety aware

Anyone running a dealership, an independent garage or MOT centre should make road safety awareness part of their strategy, not only to help reduce road traffic accidents but to boost business.

Highlighting the importance of proper vehicle maintenance should be a no-brainer for owners of bodyshops, MOT centres and other garages offering servicing and repairs. The same can be said for dealerships that offer maintenance, servicing and aftersales care.

One of the easiest ways to get buyers and customers interested in the importance of maintenance in road safety is to get involved with Road Safety Week, which is a national campaign run by charity Brake, to try to highlight the responsibilities that come with owning and driving a motor vehicle. Five people are killed each day in road traffic accidents and making small changes to driving behaviour can make a massive difference, according to the campaign which takes place in November each year.

Holding events at your dealership or garage and providing customers with printed information and even encouraging them to sign up to a pledge to change their driving habits, can help engage people.

When it comes to maintenance, technicians can advise buyers and vehicle owners to carry out regular ‘walk arounds’ to look for signs of problems. Why not explain what the tell-tale signs are when a car needs servicing or repairing? These signs include tyre tread wear, pressure and condition; oil, water and fluid levels; lights; windscreen wiper blades and wheel fixings.

These checks can be carried out before setting off on a journey, but there are also some simple indicators that there could be a more serious problem, which tend to become evident once drivers set off in their cars. Dealers and garage owners should tell drivers to come into the garage as soon as they become aware of any of the following:

Noises from the brakes
Excess noise or smoke from the dashboard
Warning lights on the dashboard
Smoke from under the bonnet
Burning smell or the smell of hot electrics
A pulling on the steering
Strange smells from the engine
Fluid leaking from under the vehicle

It is a driver’s responsibility to get these kinds of issues sorted as soon as possible to reduce the risk of road traffic accidents caused by poor vehicle maintenance. It’s also worth advising car owners to avoid carrying out these maintenance jobs themselves, and the importance of using reputable, trained technicians when fixing potentially dangerous problems.

Many drivers might think that, providing their car is up to date with its MOT or servicing requirements, that it will definitely be safe to drive until the next scheduled service with the garage. However, this is not always true and drivers can be made aware of this at the time they are buying used or new cars, or at the time they bring their car in for a scheduled service.

Some dealerships have hosted free events at their sites to encourage drivers to drop in and have simple checks done on their cars to ensure they are roadworthy, such as checking tyre tread depth. Promotional activities like these can help drivers to realise just how common these potentially dangerous maintenance issues are. And why not offer a discount to anyone who signs up for a service off the back of the checks?

Remember to update your dealership insurance, approved repairer bodyshops insurance or MOT stations insurance if you are hosting events at your site, to ensure you are fully covered for public liability, as well as employers’ liability within your policy.