Regardless of the method chosen, all auto transport vehicles are susceptible to accidents, sometimes leading to the loss of vehicles. The majority of these accidents are due to some human error, not an equipment malfunction. Some accidents have even been well publicized. In 2002, Tricolor, a Norwegian ocean vessel carrying luxury vehicles across the ocean was struck by another ship, the Kariba. The Tricolor sank in about a half an hour, along with 2,000 pricey vehicles. Just a month earlier the Hual Europe accidentally caught fire after being forced to shore by a typhoon. While accidents like these are very rare, it’s important to remember that an auto carrier ship can potentially sink.
How Auto Transport Companies Protect Customers
Despite the rate accident, auto shipping is one of the safest shipping industries operating today. According to a 2005 U.S. Department of Transportation study, there were only 4,932 fatalities involved in large truck accidents, only about 0.6 percent of which were auto transport vehicles. Transport drivers and auto transport companies receive incentives for delivering vehicles on time and completely damage-free. Officials from Toyota and Ford reported that auto transport companies deliver vehicles completely undamaged about 99.88 percent of the time.
Auto shipping companies further protect customers by insuring each vehicle that travels on their trucks. This insurance protects each customer’s vehicle from damage while in-transit if the damage is caused by driver negligence or an equipment malfunction. Each transport vehicle is also legally required to have $750,000 in public liability insurance.
How Can You Make Auto Shipping Safer?
One of the first safety measures starts with the consumer. It’s important to follow all instructions given by the driver that picks up and delivers your vehicle. In addition, you can prevent damage to yours or other vehicles on the truck by performing the following safety checks prior to shipment:
- Push the rear view mirrors in towards the car so they’re not sticking out — they can get damaged during loading or unloading.
- Check soft vehicle covers (such as those on Jeeps and convertibles) for even the tiniest tears. These tears can become gaping holes due to rapid air movement during shipping. Duct tape can help seal holes until you can find a more permanent solution.
- Check your trunk for any loose items. Popular trunk items like your gas can or sharp tools should not travel with the vehicle. Remove any valuables, flammable substances, weapons, and prescription drugs prior to loading the vehicle. Chances are pretty good if you can’t send something through the postal mail you can’t leave it in a vehicle for an auto shipment.
If you are planning on shipping a valuable or exotic car, your auto shipping company can recommend some further services to help keep your vehicle safe. While most vehicles can safely travel on an open trailer, exotic and expensive cars can travel within an enclosed trailer to keep them safe from wind, water, and road debris.