Weather Ready Fleet

Continuity & Safety - 3 Ways to Keep Your Fleet Severe Weather Ready

Posted by Stacey Papp

In order to balance both cost and driver safety, you must establish a business continuity strategy for severe weather. These plans will protect your bottom line, as well as the personal health of your drivers. Here are three keys for keeping drivers on the road without putting them at risk:
 
Be Proactive About Maintenance
Before your driver travels in less-than-ideal conditions, you need to make sure your vehicles are prepared. Staying ahead of required maintenance, including jobs related to preparing vehicles for adverse weather conditions, goes a long way in safeguarding drivers and vehicles.

A fleet management system can alert you when you’re due for routine maintenance, such as an oil change, so repairs don't slip through the cracks. You can also track the number of miles vehicles have travelled to identify if any vehicles may be at risk. If a blizzard is coming and you recognize that a vehicle is on the brink of needing new tires, you can get ahead of the problem and get the work done right away.
 
Keep Your Workers Informed
With your vehicles road-ready, the next step is making sure drivers know how to respond to extreme weather situations.
 
Any severe weather plan needs to begin with policies and best practices that set clear expectations for your drivers. A workplace safety survey from Staples found that only 38% of office workers felt confident that their organization was prepared to handle snow and ice well and 30% said they have never received any type of safety training.*
 
Don't leave your drivers like that 30%. A few training items you should cover to prepare for extreme weather include:

  • How safe speed limits change in different road conditions.
  • The ways wind and slick surfaces will affect the turn radius of vehicles.
  • What degree of limited visibility warrants pulling off the road.
  • How to safely pull over in different road and traffic conditions.
 
You can reinforce these practices through driving metrics throughout the year. For example, you can track harsh driving using a GPS vehicle tracking solution, and show drivers exactly how often they are speeding or taking hard turns. From there, you can emphasize how weather conditions impact vehicles and reiterate the need to be extra careful.
 
You must back this type of policy up with cultural messaging that reinforces that your drivers are valuable. Otherwise, they may feel that they will be punished for weather-related delays and try to take unnecessary risks.
 
Prepare to Respond to Driver Emergencies
Context matters when extreme weather hits. A driver may go down one road and be fine, but try to take a turn and notice a fallen tree blocking the road. You can't have that driver trying to adjust a vehicle navigation system to find a new route while grappling with dangerous road conditions.
 
In this scenario, the driver will likely contact the main office. With GPS vehicle tracking in place, you can pinpoint the location of the vehicle and suggest alternate route options. Service fleet owners can't stop severe weather from affecting their business, but they can help ensure that core operations are maintained in a safe, efficient way.
 
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