Winter is coming and as the temperature drops, your fleet and drivers are at maximum risk. The harsh weather conditions increase the chances of vehicle breakdown and accidents and it’s best to keep your vehicles prepared to avoid any events that can bring your operations to a halt.
Vehicle maintenance and inspection
For starters, always make sure that the vehicles are reviewed in the following aspects before they take the snowy roads.
1. Tire check: While some trucks choose to have all-season tires, winter tires perform better in terms of acceleration, braking and shortened stopping distance. Irrespective of the tires, ensure that they are in good condition. Make certain that the tires are rotated when necessary and worn-out tires are replaced based on the tread wear. Temperature drop can affect the psi and so it’s important to regularly check the tire pressure.
2. Use the right fuel: Usually, regular fuel may lead to reduced fuel economy during the winter. To reduce such instances, opt for winterized fuel. Check your specific vehicle manufacturer’s details to choose the fuel that provides better performance even during low temperature.
3. Maintain adequate antifreeze: Vehicle starting problems is one of the most common complaints by the drivers. One way to avoid this is by maintaining an adequate level of antifreeze. This not only protects your engine from rusting, but also reduces the chances of breakdowns.
4. Check your battery life: While most batteries have a lifetime of 5 years, it’s important to check the condition. It is advisable to replace the battery as this may cause certain defects during your on-road journey.
5. Brake condition: During harsh conditions, it’s important to have an adequate vehicle stopping power. Ensure that the brakes are in perfect working condition as thin brake pads can crack during low temperature.
6. Additional components: Conduct an overall inspection to ensure that your windshields are clear and the headlights are in good condition. Also, make certain that the locks and doors aren’t frozen.
Apart from the above-mentioned specifications, make sure to refer the vehicle manufacturer recommendations for the winter season and incorporate it within your checklist.
Re-establish driving standards
From monitoring driver behavior to predefining safety parameters for scoring individual performance, the fleet management solution helps in ensuring on-road safety and minimizing the possibilities of a collision. However, during the winter season, it is necessary to reiterate such standards as the maximum speed limit on a normal day would not be appropriate on rough wintry roads. From acceleration level, braking, speeding to stopping distance, ensure that your safety protocol is revised according to the winter road conditions and the same is educated to the drivers.
Plan routes and mitigate risks
There can be many instances where rough weather can result in roadblocks and heavy traffic. Choose major routes as they are more likely to be cleared in case of snow and other scenarios. Also, always have an additional option in case some routes are blocked due to bad conditions.
Stay connected, always
From sudden breakdown to changes in customer request, there are many events that cannot be controlled. It is crucial for fleet managers to stay connected to the drivers to send out immediate assistance whenever necessary.
Equip your vehicle
Always be prepared for worst-case scenarios by maintaining an emergency kit. This can include things like a torch, batteries, windshield wiper, a first-aid kit, ice scraper, blanket, gloves and more.
Ensuring the safety of your fleet and drivers is every fleet manager’s responsibility. Adopt these practices and be prepared for the harsh weather ahead.