Like it or not, winter is on its way.
Being prepared for challenging winter driving conditions will ensure your team is safe and productive. So to help you, we’ve created this fleet safety checklist
Go ahead and 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 snow and ice from your vehicle. Doing so 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. Also, make sure your headlights and taillights are clean and working, so motorists are able to see you clearly.
2. Change to weather-appropriate tires
Make sure your vehicle is equipped with the right set of tires for winter conditions. Winter tires have ice-specific tread patterns which allow drivers to steer and brake more safely. Investing in winter tires is especially important if your drivers are travelling on heavy snow or icy roads.
If you live in an area with milder winter conditions, all-weather tires are an excellent option. They allow you to reduce your costs while avoiding the hassle of switching between summer and winter tires.
Interested in learning more about all-weather tires? Check out our blog: All-Weather Tires Boost Driving Performance - and Your Bottom Line
3. Use winterized wiper fluid
Don’t neglect this simple tactic to driving safely.
Stocking up on windshield wiper fluid that has an antifreeze component is a smart move. Not only will you be able to instantly clean dirt and smears, but this will also ensure your sprayer doesn’t freeze up, crack or apply a layer of fluid that quickly turns to ice on your windshield.
4. Wash your car often
Road salt, snow, and moisture can cause rust on a car, which ages the vehicle’s body prematurely. So be sure to visit the car wash regularly.
Adding a coat of wax is also important because it adds an extra layer of protection between your car and the unpredictable road conditions.
5. Keep your fuel tank at least 50% full
To avoid getting stranded in hostile conditions, don’t allow 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 isn’t clogged so harmful carbon monoxide doesn’t enter the cab.
(Here at Foss National, our fuel card programs come with 24/7 roadside assistance. Perfect for unpredictable road conditions.)
6. 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 they 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.
For six quick safety tips, you can share with drivers, check out: Winter Driving Tips: How to Protect Fleet Drivers on the Road.
7. Have an emergency kit
Keep essential emergency items in the trunk so you’re prepared for any circumstances. Your kit should include:
Hat and gloves
Bag of sand or cat litter (which can provide added traction if you get stuck in the snow)
8. 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 or 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’s best to double the amount of space between you and the vehicle you’re travelling behind. What’s the rush?
9. 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.
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 text or rest.
Also, make sure you don’t lose track of the amount of eggnog you’ve had that day! The most important safe driving tip of all is to refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis.
If your company hasn’t set up a policy to address the legalization of recreational cannabis, see our comprehensive guide: Considerations for Your Fleet Policy Following Legalization of Recreational Cannabis.
Winter on the road can be a tough one for your company drivers. With our checklist in hand, your drivers will become more aware of winter road safety. In the end, a safe and productive driver can take your fleet a long way.
Authored 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.