Car accidents aren’t pleasant. We all know that. They can be scary, painful and hugely distressing. And this is true regardless of whether it’s in a privately-owned car or in one of your company’s fleet vehicles.

There is a very real risk of injury – and this can be severe when the accident is a bad one.

But apart from the impact on the individual behind the wheel, a road accident in a business vehicle could have further reaching consequences than you may have expected.

So what kind of impact could a car accident have on your business?

Time off the road

If the car has suffered damage, you face the frustrating problem of having it off the road while it’s repaired or you get it replaced. Depending on the role this car played in your firm, if it’s unavailable, it could have a detrimental effect on your bottom line.

For example, was it your sales representative’s vehicle? If they can’t get out there and sell or maintain existing relationships, you could see a drop in client numbers. This might be temporary, but it’s not something you should ignore when competitors might be desperately trying to gain an advantage.

Cost of insurance

Accidents typically drive up insurance costs. This can be true even if you weren’t responsible for your car crash. And when businesses are trying to survive in a hugely challenging environment – and most currently are – this won’t be welcome.

If your car’s driver wasn’t the person responsible for the accident, the increase in insurance premiums won’t be as high as if they were to blame. But this is still not something you want for your business. 

Reputational damage

An accident that causes a serious injury to your employee can cause a reputational hit that you might not be expecting. If your industry is a tight-knit one, you might find that clients – both existing and potential – and other stakeholders find out what happened.

If it’s found that your driver caused the accident through negligence or if your car was unsafe, this could reflect badly on your company. You could end up having to deal with the impact on your image. This is a particular risk if your employees start sharing their views – and they’re not exactly glowing reviews of your business.

Employee impact

These staff members could have valid concerns about your firm’s actions before the accident, as well as its response to what happened. If they don’t feel like you took your fleet’s vehicle safety seriously, they could feel like you don’t take their safety seriously.

And if they don’t think you handled the aftermath of the accident well, they’re likely to feel even less valued. 

With all this at stake, it can definitely pay for your business to ensure it’s investing in the safest fleet possible and maintaining these cars properly.

And if you do end up having to deal with the consequences, make sure you’re allowing the employee involved in the accident the time to recover and get back on their feet. Valuing your team can be one of the most important factors in fuelling their motivation to do the best job they can.