Out of all the annual vehicle accidents in the US, 22 percent are from weather-related conditions. Winter driving accident statistics include 6,000 deaths and 445,000 injuries. The holiday season brings extra challenging conditions as drivers deal with increased traffic from travelers and additional supply chain demand. Crashes are more likely to occur whenever sleet or snow falls. 

Considering all these challenges, 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.

Plan ahead

Plan for every aspect of the trip. Map out a route that considers the colder weather and only cover 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.

Stay alert

Be strict about drivers taking their rest stops and not going beyond 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 from 2009 to 2013, 44,000 injuries and 72,000 crashes were from driver fatigue.

Watch your speed

Always maintain the speed limits and take time to follow how to drive safely against the traffic. Going any faster increases a driver’s chance of getting into an accident by 1 percent, according to a University of California Berkeley study. An increase in speed also increases the chances of a serious injury by 3 percent and the likelihood of an accident by 2 percent.

Drive defensively

Reactive driving is always dangerous and never safe, 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. Remind drivers to exercise caution and always drive defensively. 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 are from distractions and these caused more than 3,000 deaths annually. Some common distractions include eating and drinking behind the wheel, texting and calling on a cellphone, 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.

Managers should always check in with drivers 

Managers should make it a habit to regularly check in 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, safety driving tips, and addressing any sudden needs if the worst happens on the road.

Prep the truck or commercial 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 

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. To ensure all fleet drivers are following driving safety tips to avoid accidents, upgrade your trucks with Netradyne’s fleet dashboard. Netradyne helps monitor each driver’s performance, assess their positive behaviors, and reminds them to avoid bad habits. Contact us to know more about this cutting edge fleet safety solution.

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