With winter fast approaching, many areas of the country have already experienced record low temperatures. Rapid freezing creates slippery and unpredictable road conditions, while rapid thawing can cause fog, hydroplaning, and other visibility and traction issues. It’s a critical time for fleets and owner operators to ensure preparedness for inclement driving conditions. Here are 12 inclement weather driving tips for professional trucking organizations:
- Increase the thoroughness of pre-trip vehicle and driver inspections and institute mid-trip and post-trip inspections as needed.
- Remind drivers to slow down. Most accidents are a result of driving at speeds inappropriate to sub-optimal road conditions.
- Encourage your drivers to maintain a safe driving distance for the capabilities of their vehicle in the context of present road and weather conditions. Though challenging, this also includes distance between the truck and vehicles on each side of it.
- Form a policy that drivers don’t stop on the side of the road in low visibility situations. It can be very dangerous because other vehicles may not see the rig and could run into it accidentally.
- Do not allow your drivers to use the Jake brake on icy roads. And don’t over brake when the unit isn’t in alignment because it’s too easy for your rig to spin out. This is especially critical when the trailer is empty.
- Establish reliable contacts with roadside towing, mechanics, and service personnel in your most frequently traveled areas to ensure swift response time – delays for roadside assistance can prove perilous for your drivers and your vehicles in inclement conditions.
- Ensure your rigs are equipped with high quality lug tires and wiper blades and that all of them are in good condition.
- Make sure all of your trucks are stocked with seasonal supplies such as deicing washer fluid and a shovel.
- Test batteries to ensure they are working properly when temperatures drop.
- Keep fuel tanks full to help with traction (extra weight over the tires.) This can also be helpful as some gas stations close during winter storms.
- Switch engine oils to a cold-weather formula when driving in cold climates.
- Consider historically dangerous driving periods when taking jobs and when advising your drivers on break times. For many areas of the country, dusk or evening rush hour is a high risk time. In some areas, holidays such as Christmas or New Years have historically high accident rates. Keep your drivers and your cargo safe by maximizing road time during lower-risk hours and days.
At AssuredPartners Transportation, we understand that the key to keeping your fleet and drivers safe is to be prepared. If you’re looking for a long-term partner who will help you prepare for the future and manage risk, contact our team today.