Around 17 percent of all vehicle accidents happen in the winter, resulting in 1,300 deaths and 117,000 injuries. With the stress of meeting deliveries on time, sharing the road with holiday travelers, and inclement weather, truck drivers need to practice extra caution and drive more defensively.

What are holiday safety tips drivers can follow to protect everyone on the road? Here are some safe driving tips for the upcoming holiday season.

Stay on Top of Weather Conditions

Plan for every aspect of the trip. Map out a route that considers the colder weather and only covers roads that are deemed safe. Study the areas you’ll be covering and account for any conditions particular to the location. You might also want to allot extra time in case of any accidents or stopovers due to extreme weather conditions. Don’t forget to double-check if the truck is fit for covering such long distances and review if it’s gone through regular maintenance.

snow traffic

Stay Alert

Ensure drivers are taking their rest stops and not exceeding their service hours. Having well-rested drivers on the road lowers the chances of injuries, deaths, and crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses are due to drowsy drivers.

Increase Your Following Distance

Stress to your drivers the importance of increasing their following distance to other vehicles. Doing this will give your drivers more time to react to other drivers’ risky behaviors. Having a fleet safety system that gives in-cab audio alerts to drivers and rewards for increasing their following distance will help keep your drivers safe while working.

Drive Defensively

Reactive driving is always dangerous and unsafe, even during the warmer months. If more people are driving and road conditions are more dangerous to deal with, driving defensively assures a safe trip for the commercial driver, their truck, and the vehicles around them. Some basic defensive driving rules include awareness of blind stops, always slowing down at intersections, looking up ahead, and maintaining a safe following distance. 

Safety will always save more lives and cost less in the long run.

Avoid Distractions

Distracted driving is just as dangerous as winter road conditions. The NHTSA reports that 1 in every 10 fatal crashes is from distractions, and these cause more than 3,000 deaths annually. Some common distractions include eating and drinking behind the wheel, texting and calling on a cell phone, changing the radio station or music, and talking to passengers. Remind drivers to avoid all these distractions and emphasize that it is for their safety. With more difficult conditions during their trip, they can’t afford to be distracted. Their utmost attention is required in case of bad driving conditions during the holidays.

Regularly Check In with Your Drivers

Managers should make it a habit to check in regularly with their drivers. Make this a routine practice before, during, and after their winter scheduled routes so you can both review driving safety topics. This assures them you’re looking out for their safety and want to avoid common holiday accidents. It also provides enough opportunity to remind them about driving defensively, safe driving tips, and addressing any sudden needs if the worst happens on the road.

live tracking

Prep the Vehicle for the Winter

Create a list of maintenance checks to ensure your truck or fleet commercial vehicle is ready for the winter. You can’t overlook regular replacements of wiper blades as this ensures clear visibility. Remind drivers to always clear their trucks of snow before every trip. The gas should be enough for the long trip and tires are inflated to last throughout the conditions. Apart from the vehicle, make sure all drivers have an emergency kit in case they get stuck or stranded.

Stay Visible Throughout the Most Difficult Conditions

Remind drivers to keep their headlights on, especially at intersections set in the most difficult winter weather. They also need to avoid blind spots near other drivers. Always maintain the right distance and allow for enough space when changing between lanes.

Final Thoughts

stay safe

Driving during the winter comes with higher risks but keeping safe driving tips in mind lowers the chances of accidents and injuries occurring during the holidays. As long as drivers avoid distractions, plan ahead, and always drive defensively, they can protect your business and other vehicles. 

Take the time to explore Netradyne’s Driveri® to better equip your fleet with safety solutions that protect your business and your drivers.

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