Case Study 2
A power cable maintenance company found they were having a significant number of off-road accidents. Investigation revealed that these accidents were caused by driver error and vehicle problems.
Each work unit consisted of two or more vehicles with at least one towing a fully laden plant trailer. One was a Toyota Hilux pickup and a long wheel base Land Rover which due to capacity did towing duties.
The needs were to review off-road driving practice, route assessment and planning, compare the differences in each type of 4x4 and to work on identifying and resolving the most likely causes of the accidents.
We created a day session with more emphasis on multiple vehicle groups, covered theory of transmission types and suspension design as the two vehicles had different systems, tyre choice and basic daily maintenance checks. This was then followed by covering the off-road driving techniques as per Borda 1.
The accidents seemed to be caused by a combination of driver error and vehicle specification faults. The drivers all identified the Hilux as being the better 4wd vehicle "because it doesn't get stuck/fall over as often as the Land Rover". There were three obvious reasons for this.
- The Hilux had Mud tyres and the LR had road biased tread All-Terrains, despite coming from the same supplier on the same contract.
- The Land Rover was fully laden with people and equipment and was also pulling a fully laden trailer giving a total train weight in excess of published safe off-road maxima.
- The routes negotiated were inappropriate for the vehicles as specified. Management was notified of these findings and individual performance.
The one person who should have been required to attend this course didn't. Often the routes negotiated were inappropriate, or negotiated without consideration for changes in the weather.
Each vehicle needed to be on proper mud tyres and the excessive weight of the total train needed to be split better between the available vehicles. The vehicle contract needed to be revisited to ensure appropriate tyres for both vehicle types.