Riding the Storms Out (Literally): 10 Tips for Winter Driving

Posted by Stacey Papp

Winter isn’t coming. Winter is here. Right now we’re in the spirit-of-the-season, warm-and-fuzzy, drink-hot-chocolate-in-PJs-with-the-kids phase of winter, but those cute snowmen you made in December start to look like malevolently grinning evil spirits come mid-January, and any additional snowfall is at best an annoyance and at worst a disaster. Even North Pole dweller Santa has enough sense get in and get out by delivering presents in December, before the most brutal part of winter has really gotten going in most of the country (except for those hardy souls in the Northwoods and the Dakotas).

And while we’d all love to call in sick every time the weather is bad, it’s not feasible for businesses with fleets – the show must go on, no matter how bad the weather.

Driving in bad weather is no joke – so here are 10 tips for fleet vehicle drivers to remember this season:

  • Make sure all vehicles are prepared for cold temps and wintry conditions. Stock up on a winter survival kit that includes an ice scraper, shovel and sand/kitty litter (to help provide traction under tires if the vehicle gets stuck), and in case of potential breakdowns during a blizzard, a flashlight, a blanket, bottled water, granola bars and flares.
  • Always keep headlights on in inclement weather for safety.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half-full at all times so you have heat in the event of a breakdown. You can run the heat for 10 or so minutes every hour if you break down somewhere, but make sure your vehicle’s tailpipe is clear, so carbon dioxide doesn’t build up, which will kill you well before any boredom does.  
  • Don’t pass snow plows and sand trucks – they have limited visibility, and the road in front of them might be worse than the road behind.
  • Be extra cautious on bridges and overpasses; they’re more likely to be icy. Highway on- and off-ramps are also in the danger zone – they sometimes get less deicer/sand than the actual highway.
  • Slow down, for the love of dear Aunt Sally. Speed limits are for dry roads in ideal driving conditions – not during extreme weather events. 
  • Use caution if snow banks limit your view of oncoming traffic.
  • Keep your vehicles maintained. If you haven’t done it already, there’s no better time than now to ensure vehicles are winter-ready. Use our handy checklist to help. 
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly so that your tires are gripping the road as much as possible. Start slowing down for stoplights well before you would in ideal conditions.

And pro tip:
Did you know that GPS tracking comes in extra handy this time of year? Monitoring vehicles keeps drivers safe year-round, but it’s especially important in the winter – you’re able to see in near real-time if someone is driving too fast or braking aggressively, and correct these actions before they turn into accidents. 

Plus, if a driver breaks down somewhere in a blizzard, the near real-time tracking ability of GPS software means that they will know their exact location, even in whiteout conditions, so they can be rescued sooner.

The ability to plan routes using up-to-the-minute data means drivers can choose the fastest route in any type of weather and will be able work around any road closures or accidents, so jobs still get filled on time. 

Plus, vehicles are overall less likely to break down, because the software can track which vehicles are due for what maintenance and send a fleet manager an alert – no need to keep it all in your head or worry that you forgot to get something looked at before the snow flies.

So don’t get left out in the cold this winter. Stick it to Mother Nature and see what GPS fleet tracking can do for you this snowy season.

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For more tips on how you can help your fleet drive a bit safer, check out our eBook!