Like it or not, winter is on its way. Being prepared will help your team remain safe and productive. As such we’ve created a fleet safety checklist to help you review your preparedness. You should share this list with your drivers, colleagues and friends as a friendly reminder on how to stay safe on the roads this winter!
10 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR SAFE WINTER DRIVING
1. Snow removal - get the white stuff off your vehicle
Allow yourself the time to remove the snow and ice from your vehicle. Clearing the windows is critical for visibility. Removing snow and ice from the top of your car will prevent those behind you from having to cope with an unexpected flurry, lowering their visibility or even damaging their windshield. Avoid the urge to pour hot water over your frozen windshield. This shortcut to scraping can easily result in cracking your windshield. Also, make sure your headlights and taillights are clean and working, so motorists are able to see where you are and where you are going.
2. Use winterized wiper fluid
Don’t neglect this simple tactic to driving safely. Stocking up on windshield wiper fluid that has an anti-freeze component is a smart move. Not only will you be able to instantly clean dirt and smears. This will also ensure your sprayer doesn’t freeze up, crack or apply a layer of fluid that quickly turns to ice to your windshield.
3. Wash your car often
Road salt, snow, and moisture can cause rust on a car. This can age the body of your vehicle prematurely. Adding a coat of wax is also important because it adds an extra layer of protection between your car and road grime.
4. Keep your fuel level at least 50%
Avoid stranding yourself in hostile conditions by not allowing your fuel levels to dip below half a tank. You never know if you’ll be stuck in traffic for extended hours. Now, if you do find yourself in a stranded situation, don’t leave your car unless shelter is available and close by. If you have to run your engine for heat, be sure the exhaust pipe is not clogged so that harmful carbon monoxide does not enter the cab. Foss’ top fuel card programs in Canada come standard with 24/7 roadside assistance.
5. Adjust your braking for road conditions
Apply even and steady pressure when braking in slippery conditions. If your car or truck has anti-lock brakes, remember anti-lock brakes don’t decrease your stopping distance, but they will help you to retain control while braking. Always approach winter road conditions with caution, especially when the surface is wet or icy. This is even more noticeable on bridges and overpasses as ice accumulates more easily on these structures.
6. Have an emergency kit
Keep essential emergency items in the trunk, i.e.: blanket, proper attire, boots, jacket, hat and gloves, a shovel, flashlight, snacks, and water.
7. Always practice defensive driving
Be aware of what’s ahead on the road and what’s around you at all times, checking your blind spots regularly and keeping a lookout for pedestrians and confused animals lost in low visibility conditions. The rule is the vehicle ahead of you should pass road markers two seconds before you do. When in slippery conditions, it is best to double the amount of space between you and the vehicle you are traveling behind. What’s the rush?
8. Turn into the direction of any slide
Don’t accelerate quickly or suddenly change direction on snow or ice. If you do experience your vehicle sliding, turn your wheels in the direction the back of the vehicle is sliding. Installing winter tires will ensure that all your fleet vehicles are ready to traverse slick and slushy roads.
9. Remain calm
In the event you should find yourself stuck or broken down on the roadside in adverse conditions stay calm. Don’t forget to keep a bag of sand (or cat litter) in the trunk, which can provide added traction should your vehicle become stuck in snow.
10. Be alert and aware
Make sure you aren’t feeling drowsy or driving distracted when behind the wheel. Take a coffee break if you need to. The most important safe driving tip of all is to refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol. Make sure you don’t lose track of the amount of eggnog you’ve had that day!
Article by Danny Sbrissa
Download our guide—5 Critical Steps to Prevent Distracted Driving—to learn the 5 actions every fleet manager should take to prevent distracted driving.