Road rage advertisingWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1896, there were only four cars registered in all the United States. Two of them collided with each other in St. Louis.
Those odds are exponentially worse today. I am not indulging in hyperbole when I say this is the worst era for driving civility in all of recorded history, at least since Roman chariot times. The Ohio DMV gives a license to anyone who asks. Just give them one of the beers you keep in the cooler in the back seat and they’ll give you a license for life.
It’s one thing for the idiots on the road (I define ”idiots” as anyone driving slower or faster than I do) to swerve and look for things under the seat at 70 mph. What confounds me is when people driving business vehicles drive like Sandra Bullock in ”Speed.”
Would you print your business card on a razor blade? Would you put your name on a pen and throw it at a client’s jugular vein? Would you distribute a promotional coffee cup with a chipped, jagged lip? Would you mail a corporate holiday card soaked in bird flu? Not if you wanted to stay in business.
Why do companies have drivers who cut off cars, make dangerous turns, fail to signal, speed, eat, drink coffee and talk on the phone while making notes on a clipboard, all at the same time, as they drive the wrong way down a one-way street in a school zone?
Placing your company information on a delivery vehicle is an easy and common way to advertise.
For as little as $100, you can get a lettering company to paint your logo and phone number on your delivery van. As the van zips around town, everyone can see your proud company name and the service you offer.
It’s a rolling billboard that represents you, a moving message that makes a first impression.
When people see your company truck do something stupid, they identify that with you and your company. You realize that, right?
When a delivery truck from a west side roofing company cuts me off in a Sylvania school zone, why would I ever call them to use their service?
When a truck from a Maumee land design business refuses to allow me to merge onto the Anthony Wayne Trail, then flips me off when I honk, why would I ever spend money with them?
Tell your drivers, when they are on the road, they represent you and your company’s reputation. Those peeling, faded ”How am I driving?” bumper stickers aren’t enough. I know other drivers make it difficult to be civil at all times; but just as you control the tone and tempo of your in-store and at-desk employees, you should coach your drivers to be aware of their impact on your business as they deliver your goods and services.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety does not keep statistics on the number of commercial vehicles involved in accidents, so I do not know how to quantify the number of delivery vans and small trucks that get into accidents.
When I was an editor for the South Florida Business Journal, we wrote an occasional article about area companies whose representative vehicles were seen driving recklessly. Business Journal photographers and reporters contributed to the feature, and we published photos and stories of several company vans driving like they had the devil in the back seat.
We also reported when we saw a company vehicle do something friendly and civil, but we did not need as much ink for that.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press. He may be contacted at (419) 241-1700 or by e-mail at email@example.com.