With the winter seasons comes winter weather, a time many across the nation enjoy – but for heavy truck drivers it can also mean a lot of hazardous conditions. To keep your drivers and your vehicles safe, here are a few key things to consider before setting out in the rain, sleet, or snow.
Equipment checks are vital
This may seem like an obvious step to take but ensuring that all equipment is working properly before the truck leaves is critical, especially for the safety of your drivers. You may feel confident in your fleet’s current equipment status, but you need be sure that all components of each system are not only working properly but will continue to do so in case the driver is unable to reach his destination due to inclement weather.
Even seemingly small things, like the turning signals on each truck in your fleet, can make or break the difference between a safe trip and one that causes an accident. If the conditions are such that the tires will need chains, every truck needs to have those easily accessible – and every driver needs to know the correct way to put the chains on the tires.
Your truck’s windshield wipers are another example of something that is easily fixed or replaced, but if a driver is stuck on the road without access to more equipment, it is a good idea to check the blades before the truck leaves for its next stop. Be sure all fuel tanks are full, and plan ahead to find out which gas stations close in dangerous weather conditions.
Have an emergency plan
Being prepared for emergencies doesn’t only apply to having your equipment prepped and ready to go. Your fleet drivers must also have a plan in place that will allow them to safely navigate their route in extreme weather conditions. If they can’t continue their route due to the weather, there needs to be a specific set of pre-determined steps they follow to let the rest of their team know about their situation. Review these steps with your drivers on a regular basis and keep them written down in a place where every driver can find them at all times.
If a driver is stuck on the road and unable to continue at all, are they prepared with emergency supplies? Food, water, and ways to keep warm are all crucial to the safety of your driver. Be sure that every driver is aware of the supplies they need to carry with them, and that they check to see how many of each supply they have before they leave. Even if it is unlikely that your driver will be caught in a storm without warning, it is still a good idea to prepare for the worst so everyone can remain safe.
We know winter is well on its way – and now is the time to make your fleet the safest it can be.