Driver safety is among the top concerns for vehicle fleet managers. This concern intensifies during the winter months, when adverse weather produces icy roads and unsafe driving conditions.
And it is not unfounded: roughly 30% of vehicle accidents in Canada occur on snowy or icy roads. Further, more than 50,000 traffic accidents per year are affected by winter precipitation. With such harrowing statistics, fleet managers must find effective solutions to help keep drivers safe in winter.
WHAT IS TELEMATICS SOFTWARE?
This innovative technology combines the use of telecommunications and information science (a.k.a. informatics) to send, receive and store data pertaining to remote objects, such as vehicles. Using fleet telematics, GPS systems are combined with on-board diagnostics to monitor the movement, location, behaviour, and status of vehicles.
This technology gives fleet managers an accurate real-time snapshot of how their drivers are performing.
Below are three key ways telematics can help keep drivers safe during dangerous winter conditions.
Monitors and evaluates driver behaviour
Winter weather poses a challenge to even the most experienced drivers on the road. Since a large portion of traffic accidents can be traced back to driver behaviour, the ability to monitor your drivers’ habits becomes critically important. This is especially true during the harsh winter months.
Telematics empowers fleet managers to monitor problematic driving habits such as excessive speed, harsh or late braking, and sharp turns. You can then proactively address these issues before an accident happens.
Should an accident occur, the system will immediately provide you with a detailed alert with data about the accident, so that you can immediately take action.
Keeps track of vehicle maintenance needs
Maintenance issues such as worn-down brakes, inadequate fluid levels, or uneven tires are always cause for concern, but even more so during the rough winter season. Poorly maintained vehicles will automatically be at a greater risk for accidents, especially when contending with snow and ice.
Even a routine maintenance item such as an oil change becomes that much more important during the winter time, as well-worn, dirt-clogged oil can take on a thick, syrup-like consistency in freezing temperatures. This makes it more difficult for the oil to provide adequate lubrication for cold engine parts, reducing performance and potentially causing lasting damage.
Telematics keeps track of vehicle maintenance schedules to ensure all routine maintenance is being performed. This will help prevent vehicle breakdowns, minimizing the likelihood of having a driver stranded somewhere out in the cold.
In addition, real-time driver management tools and in-cab alerts help minimize vehicle wear-and-tear by alerting drivers when they are driving irresponsibly.
Identifies the best and safest routes
In snowy, icy conditions, anything can happen. Traffic pile-ups, road closures, and other unpredictable situations can delay route scheduling and reduce driver productivity.
A telematics GPS system records and maps the exact locations of your fleet vehicles, while also monitoring traffic patterns and congested areas. It then determines the most optimal routes for your drivers to take. The result is minimal disruptions in service appointments, and less headaches for drivers.
Bonus: Telematics saves you money!
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, each job-related collision costs employers an average of $16,500. That number increases to $74,000 if the collision results in an injury. Should the worst happen and a collision results in a fatality, the cost skyrockets to $500,000.
When you consider that the use of telematics has resulted in a 45% decrease in vehicle accidents, it only makes sense to implement this critical technology not only for safety purposes, but also as a means to reduce financial risk.
If you operate a fleet in Canada, no doubt you are all too familiar with challenging winter road conditions. While winter weather is unavoidable, you can take the necessary steps to ensure your fleet continues to operate safely and smoothly. Using fleet telematics, you can take the guesswork out of monitoring vehicles while improving driver safety and boosting cost savings for your business.
Article by Darlene Spriel
Download Using Telematics to Increase Fleet Profitability. It will show you how telematics software can the increase the productivity and profitability of your fleet.