The winter is a wonderful time to spend with others, but as a business owner, it can mean the potential for winter-related hazards. If your employees drive fleet vehicles during the winter, for example, you certainly want them and your vehicles to be safe on the icy roads. Here are some important driving tips you and your employees should follow during the winter.
Get Your Vehicle Serviced
Before winter hits, make sure all business vehicles are properly serviced, whether it is a large delivery vehicle or small service truck. Have an updated oil change and tune-up, and be sure you have the transmission, tires, brakes, engine, heater, and defroster checked for proper function.
It is also a good idea to check the wiper blades, hoses, belts, cables and battery. If the car battery is older, get it tested. Or better yet, replace it now instead of risking a dead battery in the bitter cold. If it routinely snows heavily where you are, get snow tires and chains for your fleet vehicles. Keep a container full of kitty litter in the vehicle to help get a stuck vehicle out of the snow.
Bring Emergency Supplies
Employees should always have emergency supplies on hand in case their vehicle breaks down or a snowstorm hits while they are out on the road. Be sure you stock up with the following items and keep them in your business vehicles at all times:
- Water and non-perishable food
- Windshield scraper
- Sand or cat litter
- Extra clothing like a jacket, hat and gloves
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Flares and matches
- Jumper cables
- Extra cell phone and charger
- First aid kit
Drive Slowly and Carefully
Instruct all of your drivers to drive slowly and carefully at all times. They should leave extra space between them and the vehicle in front of them, as an added precaution. Sliding on the snow and ice does happen, even with snow tires, so it is important to leave that extra room. Drivers should drive slower and more carefully when the roads are slick, than when the weather is clear and roads are dry. If possible, have drivers leave early for deliveries so they are not trying to rush to get them all done.
Never Leave Without Removing Snow and Ice
No matter what kind of hurry you or your drivers are in, they should never operate their vehicle before removing all snow and ice. They can make a path around the tires, and remove any snow or ice from the windshield and all other windows to be able to drive safely.
Don’t Pass Up Large Vehicles
Large vehicles may be on the road and driving slower than you or your employees want. But it is prudent in many cases to not try to pass them up. Remaining behind a slow winter weather driver provides better control where your vehicle goes. The other driver may not see you if you try to pass them, and with the roads icy and covered in snow, this can make for a very dangerous situation.
Always Have a Full Tank of Gas
Employees may end up in a snowstorm where they have to drive very slow for a long period of time — or even potentially be stuck or stopped for many hours. In the latter situation, you may need to keep your vehicle running to keep the heat turned on until help arrives or traffic clears. Therefore, keeping a full tank of gas is prudent for this type of “just in case” scenario.
Have Business Auto Insurance
Also make sure you have an updated commercial auto insurance policy. This covers many things that might come up, including collisions during a nasty snowstorm.