If you employ commercial vehicle drivers that have to drive on the icy and snowy roads in the wintertime, you know the dangers of sending them off without preparing them first. It takes seconds for a vehicle’s tires to lose traction and have your drivers spinning the tires of the vehicle looking for grip. Worse, they could spin totally out of control and either get stuck, end up in a ditch or get injured.
Because of this, it’s important that you winterize all company vehicles before the winter season. Make an appointment to have all vehicles inspected and maintained. Have everything from the brakes, exhaust system, and belts and hoses to the tire pressure and battery checked. Make sure each vehicle has working wipers, defroster/heater and ignition systems. Fill the tanks up with gas and you might even wish to put chains on the tires depending on where your drivers are driving around. And make sure the vehicles has a full supply of windshield wiper fluid.
The braking distance of your company vehicles can be affected drastically through winter driving conditions like snow, rain, and ice. Reduced tire traction makes your drivers’ ability to stop smoothly and safely seriously limited. The wheel’s traction on the vehicle needs to stay gripped to the surface of the road without any ‘rolling traction’ in order for the driver to stop safely. Ensure your drivers drive more slowly and turn and stop gently to handle the slippery roads. Have them increase their following distances as well to allow themselves enough time to stop behind other vehicles. During snowy road conditions, they should actually cut their speed down in half of what the speed limit is.
Some winter driving tips recommended through the AAA include:
- – Get plenty of rest before you hit the road and don’t drive while tired.
- – Ensure your vehicle’s tires are inflated properly.
- – Don’t mix up tire types with radial tires.
- – Ensure your gas tank is filled up at least half way to avoid freezing up the gas line.
- – Try not to use your parking brake when it’s rainy, cold or snowy out.
- – Never use cruise control while driving on roads that are slippery.
- – Always wear a seat belt.
While your drivers are driving, they should be using slow, small motions. They need to keep it easy on the brakes and if they do start skidding, they need to steer the vehicle in the direction they wish to go using light pressure on the gas pedal and only apply brakes slightly. They shouldn’t brake if they are in a sideways skid, which could put them into a full spin. When they are braking in a straight line, if the pedal begins chattering or pulsing, they should keep their foot on the pedal since it is an indication that their anti-lock brake system is working.
The winter season should not keep your drivers off the roads. It just takes some focus and awareness to keep them safe. Just instill in them to take caution and slow down. You should also be sure to be protected with commercial auto insurance as well just in case there are some accidents that can’t be avoided.