Six things your clients should look out for during a pre-trip inspection

Risk management 3 min read 21 June 2017

The heavy haulage industry is the heartbeat of South Africa’s economy, with virtually every commodity we consume transported by trucks. So, it is not surprising that the trucking industry contributes 8% of the country’s GDP which amounts to a staggering R130 billion per annum and employs over 300 000 people.


However, road safety is a big concern for the industry. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, over 29% of trucking accidents are as a result of mechanical failures – with brake failures and defective tyres the two biggest culprits. In 2016 Santam Heavy Haulage received about 18000 heavy haulage related claims and paid claims to the value of R487million.


Roadworthiness of trucks is an important requirement for the safety of both the driver and other road users and one of the main pre-requisites for heavy haulage insurance policies. These policies are issued to the insured with a specific condition that the vehicle is kept in a roadworthy condition at all times in terms of the Road Traffic Ordinance. It goes without saying that an insurer can reject a claim if it can be proven that the vehicle is unroadworthy.


A pre-trip inspection is one way drivers can determine if their trucks are in a good condition to be on the road. It is a critical step that allows drivers to identify damages or issues that need to be addressed before a truck can leave the depot. When done properly, it can prevent accidents, increase road safety, limit downtime, and get drivers to their destinations on schedule thus helping operators reduce their loss ratios.


Here is a list of things your clients should look out for during a pre-trip inspection:


  1. Braking systems.
  2. Tyres-tyre pressure must be to the manufacturer’s specification, regarding the load to be carried and the tread pattern over the full width of the tyre and tread depth must not be less than 1 mm.
  3. Steering - this must operate freely from lock to lock and there should not be too much free play on the steering wheel.
  4. Windscreens, windows and wiper blades - a cracked or clouded windscreen that obstructs a driver’s day or night view in the “control zone” of vision will not pass a roadworthy test, the vehicle must be fitted with at least one windscreen wiper in operation in front of the driver and wiper mechanisms and blades must operate effectively by adequately clearing the driver’s view when in operation.
  5. Lights – main beam and dipped beam (headlights), front and rear park lamps, stop, tail and number plate lamps, indicator and hazard lamps and reverse lamps are compulsory by law and must be in full working order at all times.
  6. Bodywork - all bolt-on accessories like bumpers, bars and mirrors must be fastened and secured
    correctly, overhead storage racks must not be overloaded and emergency exits must be clearly marked.


Taking time checking a truck before a trip is not just good for business, it is necessary to keep everyone on the road as safe as possible. Let us work together to keep our roads safe.


Get in touch with your relationship manager if you have any queries about Santam products. For more information view our heavy commercial vehicle insurance offering here. For a new quote request e-mail us at