Transport is the lifeblood of any modern economy. The very nature of commerce and consumption in today’s globalized, digital economy, demands that transport runs 24/7, in all seasons, and on schedule. Driving is especially challenging during winter time, when road conditions become more difficult – slippery black ice, high winds, decreased visibility, and even accidents from other vehicles are some of the most common hazards during this time. Here are some helpful winter driving tips for fleet operators and drivers to ensure safety and cargo security in transit:
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Have this in the vehicle at all times. It will be your lifeline when things go wrong.
• Communications – a radio or cellphone
• Blankets and a spare set of dry, winterized clothing to keep warm
• Food and Water
• First-aid kit
• Snow chains
• Vehicle fluids – coolant, washer fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, anti-freeze
• Spares – fuel filter (with wrench)
• Tire patching kit
• Full tool set including a snow shovel
• Flashlight with spare batteries
• Early warning devices and road flares
There are more exhaustive lists to be found elsewhere but the above represents the base necessities.
Invest in Training
Driver preparation is the most pro-active measure one can invest in to prevent having to use an emergency kit or file an insurance claim. The proper training for hitting a patch of ice and losing traction can mean the difference between rolling over in a ditch or rolling to a safe stop. Winter driving conditions may sometimes require a counter-intuitive response than what you would normally do such as not stepping on the brakes and just letting the vehicle stop on its own.
For winter driving, the training may be an extra investment, but learning the hard way may cost much more. And not just monetarily, it could mean downtime for your fleet and crew.
Vehicle Preparation and Documentation
Inspect and document the condition of your vehicle when preparing your vehicle for heavy snow. Pay specific attention to tires for traction, wipers for visibility, the fuel filter for water contamination, and don’t forget the battery – battery life tends to decrease in colder temperatures. Be sure to document these, so you can track the specific issues that need attention, as well as monitor the costs involved.
Drive Slowly and Give Yourself Lots of Room
Navy SEALs have a saying: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Driving in winter requires the same mindset. Whether you’re hauling a 20-ton transformer or a load of groceries with two kids in the back, slow down and give yourself lots of room. This gives the driver more control of the vehicle and a wider reaction window in the event something unexpected happens – such as a vehicle ahead spinning out.
Time management is arguably the most important in terms of driver rest and trip planning. Driver fatigue and tight schedules are leading causes of accidents in the winter time. Both fatigue and the rush to make a delivery contribute to driver stress that may lead to unsafe driving practices.
By following the above winter driving tips, you can avoid accidents and ensure the safety the of your vehicles and personnel.
Do you need customized work trucks? Contact us at 1-877-479-1388 or email Steve Gruber at firstname.lastname@example.org for your car, truck or fleet rental and no-term leasing needs. We have locations in Hamilton, Selkirk & Niagara and service all of Ontario through our partner network. With a fleet of over 1000 vehicles and growing, Thomas Solutions has a wide array of work vehicles for lease or rent, and an expert team that provides fleet vehicle management services for large industrial firms.