Trucking fleets are already at greater risk for an accident, but winter weather increases that risk even more. Knowing how to prepare for a winter trip, and how to handle icy conditions, will keep your fleet drivers safe through the coldest months of the year.
Before Fleets Hit the Road
You most likely already have a truck inspection process in place, but make sure drivers inspect the tires, wiper blades, fluids, and lights more often during freezing temperatures. A truck’s condition can change just as quickly as the weather, so taking a little extra time to do a visual check and a hands-on inspection of these items could make a big difference. Inspections should occur before the trip and during stops.
If your drivers are uncomfortable driving in icy weather, or if weather reports are warning about dangerous conditions, use your best judgment to make safe decisions. Adjusting a delivery or getting behind on schedule is better than putting your driver in an unsafe situation.
Be Prepared: What to Bring on a Winter Drive
Along with the inspection, ensure that your drivers have the right supplies on hand to stay safe. These are some recommended items:
- Warm clothes (layers, gloves, hat that covers ears, socks, boots)
- Water-resistant coat
- Windshield scraper
- Tire chains
- Jumper cables
- Non-perishable food and water
This list could grow to include many other items, but we suggest you carry these items in your car, at a bare minimum. This will allow you to be prepared for a breakdown that leaves you on the side of the road. And even thought that doesn’t sound pleasant, it is better to be prepared for the worst than to just hope for the best.
Staying Safe During the Drive
If the weather is safe enough to drive, truckers should still take precautions while on the road. Drivers need to know the limits of their equipment, as well as themselves. Pushing the truck or their own abilities beyond their limits is too risky. While on the road, truckers should drive at a slower pace, keep both hands firmly on the wheel at all times, and brake and accelerate lightly to avoid spinning out of control.
Keep your drivers safe by educating them on the best way to handle winter hazards. If you want more information on how to keep your workforce safe and your fleet running optimally, contact one of our fleet management experts.