As winter approaches, work truck fleet managers face a unique set of challenges to ensure the safety and efficiency of their vehicles in harsh conditions.
No. 1 —Impact of Preventive Maintenance and Safe Driving
Finding the right preventive maintenance schedule is crucial for winter preparedness.
Casdin suggested tracking metrics to establish a suitable maintenance routine. This includes:
- Miles traveled.
- Engine hours.
- Fuel usage.
- Calendar time.
“If you also track the number of breakdowns, jumpstarts, tows, and emergency repairs, you might see patterns that require adjustments to your maintenance schedule,” Casdin added.
This can be done by leveraging fleet management software to efficiently track service records, especially for large fleets operating over wide areas.
Additionally, reporting for diagnostic trouble code indicators allows fleet managers to identify issues before they become critical. This can be done by setting up automated reports for timely awareness during the winter season.
"Ensuring safe driving is paramount, especially in winter. GPS tracking technology, like Verizon Connect Reveal, provides around-the-clock fleet tracking capabilities, allowing fleets to mitigate unsafe driver behaviors effectively," Casdin said.
Proactive route planning and conducting extra winter driving coaching sessions are imperative to reinforce safe driving practices.
No. 2 — Importance of Headlights and Wiper Blades
Without proper visibility during winter driving, crashes can easily occur.
"Checking headlights and wiper blades before every journey is essential for safe driving," Casdin advised.
Verifying the functionality of headlights becomes crucial during dark winter nights while ensuring wiper blades can handle heavy, wet snow is vital for maintaining a clear windshield.
"Cleaning off excess snow and ice from the vehicle exterior is equally important to prevent accidents caused by blowing snow," added Casdin.
No. 3 — Innovative Approaches to Antifreeze Usage
Thinking outside the box is key to safety. While antifreeze prevents water from freezing in the engine, it also combats corrosion and scale buildup and lubricates the engine.
However, antifreeze is toxic to the environment. So proper disposal of excess antifreeze and avoiding its use as a deicer on windshields to prevent environmental damage and paintwork is suggested.
Casdin recommended, “You should also make sure every vehicle is equipped with deicer and a windscreen scraper to aid visibility and avoid any delays before setting off. A quick spray of WD-40into vehicle locks can help prevent them from freezing, while a layer of petroleum jelly can be used to thaw any ice that has made its way inside the mechanism.”
No. 4 — Critical Role of Battery Maintenance
Regarding electric trucks and vehicles, fleet managers and drivers should monitor charge levels, inspect cables and terminals for wear, and consider the impact of cold weather.
Cold weather can reduce battery performance, making regular checks crucial.
Casdin said, “Don’t guess at your EV charge level. Many GPS tracking systems have EV ‘Low Battery’ alerts to notify you when EV battery levels run low. This way, you will know with enough time to get the batteries recharged and keep your drivers safe.”
No. 5 — Value of the Right Tires for Winter Safety
The final item to check to ensure a safe fleet while on the winter roads is tire maintenance or regular checks of tire pressure and tread depth.
Investing in winter tires for increased grip and improved braking performance in snow and ice is a proactive measure.
If you use a GPS tracking system, you can utilize all available tools for maintenance and safety.
Fleet managers can receive automatic alerts for vehicle issues and set proactive reminders for preventive maintenance activities.
As winter poses unique challenges to work truck fleets, a comprehensive approach to preventive maintenance, safe driving practices, and innovative solutions is key.
Casdin’s final advice?
“Stay ahead of potential problems, and don't be reactive. The middle of a snowstorm is not the time to try to remember if a snowplow needs an oil change,” he said. “The same system offers instant access to the complete repair and maintenance history of each vehicle in your fleet, reducing your need for paperwork later.”