Fleet Tracking

The Impact of Harsh Braking on Your Fleet Vehicles

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We’ve discussed safe driving habits many times on this blog. We know that habits like rapid acceleration and harsh braking can be dangerous and even lead to accidents. However, there are many other consequences that you may not have even considered. Let’s emphasize the importance of tracking driving behavior by exploring the consequences of bad habits, particularly harsh braking. 

What are the Effects of Harsh Braking?

The first question is: what is considered harsh braking? You can probably guess that the term applies whenever a driver uses more force than necessary to bring the vehicle to a stop. How is this quantified? Harsh braking occurs when you reduce your speed by 8-10 MPH in one second. It is often the result of distracted or aggressive driving. We know that this is highly unsafe, but how does it affect your fleet vehicles?

  • Damaged Tires: If you’ve ever braked too fast, you may have heard a screech or smelt burnt rubber. This is called flat-spotting; it occurs when your wheels lock up and your vehicle skids across the pavement. Because a section of your tire stays connected with the pavement, it will wear one section of tread and create a flat spot. This will wear your tires out prematurely.
  • Damaged Driveshaft: Your driveshaft is a ball and socket combination that connects your wheels to the engine. It gives your vehicle the ability to move and turn. Slamming on the brakes can knock the driveshaft out of place. Once it is knocked out of place, it will begin to wear down and cause damage to other parts of your car. 
  • Damaged Brakes: Of course, hard braking affects your brakes. It may overheat the brake pads, which causes them to wear down faster. Then, you’ll be dealing with problems with the brake rotors and suspension. Slamming the brakes may even cause cracks in your brake hoses and cause a leak of brake fluid. 

What Causes Harsh Braking?

Before we can eliminate harsh braking in our fleets, we need to know what causes it. Here are three reasons your drivers may have a harsh braking habit:

  • Tailgating: You should always have a distance of four seconds behind the car in front of you–more if you are driving a truck. If you are driving too close to the car in front of you, you may slam the brakes when it slows down or stops. 
  • Speeding: The faster you travel, the harder it is to control your vehicle. This means you’ll likely have to hit the brakes hard in order to avoid crashes. 
  • Driver Misjudgments: Every driver makes miscalculations from time to time. It is hard to predict the behavior of other drivers, so when they act suddenly, you may be forced to hard brake. 

Prevent Harsh Braking with Telematics

Azuga’s fleet management software harnesses telematics to track driver behavior. Some habits it tracks include rapid acceleration, speeding, hard cornering, and of course, harsh braking. Once you find these habits among your drivers, you can provide coaching and training with real data to back you up. Learn more about Azuga’s fleet management solution by scheduling a demo with one of our experts.