The winter season can pose many risks to fleet safety. Heavy snowfall, icy roads, and poor visibility increase the risk of accidents and other safety hazards.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports over 5,891,000 vehicle crashes annually. 21 percent of these crashes (or about 1,235,000) are due to harsh weather conditions.

To protect their vehicles and ensure the safety of their drivers, fleet managers must take the necessary steps to ensure fleet safety during unpredictable weather conditions.

What Are Some Tips to Keep Your Fleet Safe on Roads This Winter?

Operations do not have to grind to a halt during adverse weather conditions. As a fleet manager, it’s crucial to be proactive in protecting your fleet vehicles and drivers. Here are some tips to ensure that your business is well-equipped to face winter:

Stay on top of weather conditions

Unexpected environmental changes can cause delays in your fleet’s schedule. Managers and drivers must stay ahead of any potential weather problems to minimize disruptions and ensure operations can proceed smoothly. Companies can use forecasts, radar, and satellite imagery to assess current and future weather conditions. 

Check your dash cameras or backup cameras

Dash cams help increase road visibility, enabling drivers to spot icy patches or other road hazards before it’s too late. AI dash cams like Driveri® provide real-time and detailed road data that helps drivers navigate roads more effectively. In addition, Driveri® allows companies to analyze their fleet quickly and efficiently, giving them an added layer of safety and security for their vehicles and personnel. 

Keep the fuel tank full

Having a full tank of gas can help prevent delays and keep your vehicles from getting stranded on the road. It allows for more flexibility in route planning and can help save time by ensuring that drivers don’t have to make frequent stops to refuel. During winter, it is essential to keep tanks topped up with winter-grade fuel to maintain your vehicle’s optimum performance and reduce the risk of the fuel line freezing. 

Make yourself visible

Drivers can make themselves visible on winter roads by using turn signals whenever they change lanes, turn, or merge. They also need to check their blind spots and use their mirrors to ensure no other vehicles are in the vicinity before they change lanes. Before and after each journey, drivers must inspect their headlights and taillights to ensure they are in proper working order. It will help other motorists see you more efficiently and prevent potential accidents or hazards.

Increase following distance

Increasing the following distance between vehicles gives drivers more time to react to hazardous driving situations, such as sudden stops or unexpected turns. When drivers have extra time to respond, they can reduce the risk of a collision and ensure their safety and those around them. Additionally, increasing the following distance can allow you to avoid potential hazards on the road, such as icy patches or low visibility, which may be more common in colder weather. 

Watch for tire spray

During the winter, drivers need to be extra vigilant while driving. The unpredictable weather can pose potential hazards such as tire spray. Tire spray can cause various issues for drivers, such as decreased visibility, increased risk of skidding, and the potential for ice particles to build up on the windshield. Drivers should also clean their windshields regularly to help reduce the number of ice particles that have built up.

Pull over and wait it out

When winter driving conditions become too risky, drivers should pull over and wait until the weather improves. Driving in hazardous conditions, such as heavy snowfall, icy roads, or fog, can be too dangerous for drivers. It is often best for truckers to get off the road and wait for the weather to improve. When they do, they should turn on their hazard lights to alert other drivers of their presence. 

Keep an emergency kit

The winter emergency kit should include extra blankets and jackets, a tire repair kit, flashlights, a first aid kit, energy bars, and a shovel. Drivers should have detailed instructions on using the items in the kit and a list of emergency contact numbers they can call. Additionally, drivers should be familiar with the local road and weather conditions and how to navigate in low-visibility cases. 

Have an emergency plan in place

Commercial fleet drivers should know the emergency protocols for winter driving conditions. They should also have access to a reliable roadside assistance service that can help in the event of a breakdown or accident, providing towing services and emergency supplies when needed. This can help drivers quickly and safely return to the road, reducing the risk of being stranded in hazardous winter weather. 

Use vehicle tracking software

Vehicle tracking software provides real-time visibility into each vehicle’s location, condition, and performance. This visibility can help fleet managers make more informed decisions about the safety of their drivers and vehicles. For example, fleet managers can use the software to monitor driving speed and ensure that motor carriers stay below the speed limit in icy conditions. Drivers can also use the software to plan the most efficient routes and reduce the risk of accidents. 

How Can Vehicle Tracking Software Promote Fleet Safety in Winter?

Netradyne’s fleet management software help fleet managers identify vehicles on their routes and the performance of their drivers in real time. Also, locating vehicles in inclement weather is made easier with geofencing capabilities. Fleet managers are able to set up custom areas on their map and receive instant notification when a vehicle enters or exits the designated zone. In addition to fleet visibility, fleet managers also receive notifications when a high-risk event occurs on the road. This way, fleet managers can stay on top of driver safety more efficiently. 

Final Thoughts

Winter weather can be harsh, but with the right precautions and technology in place, you can make sure your fleet is safe all season long. By following the tips above and investing in quality vehicle tracking software, you can rest assured that your fleet will stay safe no matter what Mother Nature throws its way.

Learn more about how Netradyne’s fleet management software puts your drivers’ safety first without compromising on efficiency.

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