A dealership had a customer who totaled her car, which was still being financed. Upon learning from her insurer that a claim check was on the way, the dealership allowed her to drive home in another vehicle, which they planned to sell her after receiving the claim check on the first car.
After taking the vehicle home, the woman loaned it to her boyfriend, who then loaned it to his other girlfriend. Girlfriend #2, not authorized to drive the car under the borrower agreement, hit a taxi. Fortunately, she caused only minor damage, but the three people had some ‘splainin’ to do. Even with the most trusted of customers, there is added risk to someone driving an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar streets, and the employee passenger can help the driver navigate and avoid an accident.
To avoid collisions during test drives, it is advisable to have designated routes on lightly traveled roads, ideally with a circuit of right turns leading back to the dealership, but with a minimum of left turns in any event.
To avoid accidents during test drives, follow these guidelines:
Make sure salespeople always have control of keys to vehicles. Be alert to attempts to switch keys.
Explain the vehicle’s features while it is still on the lot, not while it is being driven.
Have dealer staff drive the vehicle off the lot; some of the most common claims for insurers of dealerships arise from left turns out of the dealer lot at the start of a test drive.
Designate a safe location for switching drivers, and turn the vehicle off completely while making the switch.
Establish a standard route for test drives, using all right turns, if possible.