Company car abuse could hurt you

Updated: 

Bumper carPA

Let's say you were given ten thousand pounds or more by your boss. They trust you to look after it, and keep a close eye on you. So what would you do with it?

If a new survey is anything to go by, we'd abuse that trust, take reckless risks, and the value of that £10,000 would rapidly drop through the floor. Because that's exactly how we treat company cars that are often worth far more.

Taking risks

The survey by uSwitch.com, found that drivers really do behave differently when driving a company car. Two thirds (67%) are more likely to take bigger risks, while over half (52%) are more likely to speed than when driving their own car.

But speeding isn't the only risk we take. Some 67% are also more likely to lane hop in company cars while more than six in ten (62%) say they're more likely to jump the lights. And despite the dangers and the fact that it's illegal, over eight in ten (83%) are more likely to use a mobile in their company car.

Damaging

So why are we so cavalier with these cars? Why can't we respect the fact that we are being trusted with company property? And more to the point, why don't we realise that we are being watched?

Employers foot the bill for any repairs and maintenance, so drivers are less likely to worry about the general wear and tear of their company car. Less than three in ten (27%) are more worried about knocking or scratching their work car than their personal car and less than a quarter (24%) bother to check the oil or water.

Big Brother

However, this is spectacularly short sighted. Employers don't just hand over the car and then pick up the bill for whatever harm it comes to. They keep a very close eye on how you use it. Any repair bill will be added to the company system and if you are getting through more than the usual kind of wear and tear you will be red flagged. You will also come to the attention of your bosses if you pick up any speeding or parking fines. You will even be highlighted if you use more fuel to travel the same distances as everyone else, because your boss will conclude that you are either driving dangerously and inefficiently or you are lying about mileage.

As company cars and fuel get increasingly expensive, you can expect your company to keep a closer and closer eye on how you treat it. If you are found to be abusing your car you will receive a warning or be asked to attend training. If you continue to abuse their trust, it is likely to go on your permanent record.

In an era where employers are quick to get rid of under-performing staff, do you really want to stand out as careless, thoughtless and dangerous?

Even before your treatment of your car starts to impact your reputation with your employer, there's every chance it could be harming your reputation with your customers. Even though they are representing their business in their company car, over half of workers (53%) are more likely to litter it, while six in ten (60%) are more likely to eat and drink in it than in their own car. In fact less than a quarter (24%) worry about keeping their company car clean.

You wouldn't show up to a meeting in a dirty, smelly suit, so why would you feel any differently about your car?

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