Implementing preventive measures can help prepare work truck fleets for severe weather challenges.  -  Photo: Work Truck

Implementing preventive measures can help prepare work truck fleets for severe weather challenges.

Photo: Work Truck

Severe weather can cause significant damage and disruption. Not only do residents have to prepare their homes for these threats, but fleet managers must also prepare their fleet.

It poses unique challenges for work truck fleet managers. It requires strategic planning and coordination to ensure the safety of both drivers and assets.

To help you avoid these challenges, we spoke with Eric Frey, Director of Global Product Management at Powerfleet, to gather insights on how medium-duty truck fleets can prepare for and navigate severe weather threats.

Emergency Protocols and Communication

Clear and open communication is paramount when faced with severe weather challenges.

“A reliable line must be available in real-time when cell towers are down so drivers know how to proceed in the worst-case scenario,” Frey stressed.

Fleet managers should review the emergency protocols before storms, ensuring all drivers understand the plan.

Additionally, weather education is crucial in helping drivers make informed decisions, emphasizing the importance of knowing the difference between a "flood watch" and a "flood warning," as an example.

Specialized Tools and Equipment

During extreme weather events, having a reliable navigation system with weather as a data point is crucial.

Partnering with a solution provider offering such technology provides fleets the flexibility to deviate from the original plan when necessary.

“Storms can be unpredictable, and you may only get a 48-hour notice of severe weather, so leveraging this technology can make all the difference when an alternate route is needed, allowing fleets to deviate from the plan when necessary,” Frey said.

Fleet managers should prioritize fuel efficiency to minimize downtime during extreme weather conditions.

“We often see vehicles left running to keep drivers warm during record-low temperatures, for example, but every hour spent idling is a gallon of gasoline,” Frey pointed out.

These alternatives improve fuel efficiency and contribute positively to the environment. In cases where management is uncertain about idle time impacting their fleet, they must be able to gather accurate data to minimize it effectively.

3 Final Strategies to Prepare for Severe Weather

There are three key strategies for fleet management to implement to prepare for severe weather:

No. 1 — Preventive maintenance is useful for fleets to ensure they run smoothly, but it can even help during severe weather challenges.

“It is critical to cover all bases. Proper vehicle maintenance is key – fleets can and should ensure their trucks are in order, from preparing trouble codes and inspection reports to checking tire pressure, braking, and lighting,” Frey added.

No. 2 — Driver training is crucial for instilling safe driving habits. Technology, such as dash cams, can help drivers recognize distractions and unsafe behavior, contributing to overall safety and preparedness.

No. 3 — Effective communication within the fleet management team is crucial during extreme weather events. Frey emphasizes the significance of backup communication options, especially when cellular networks are disrupted.

Clear and concise directives from management help avoid miscommunication and keep operations running smoothly.

Dual-mode communication capabilities, incorporating satellite communication, prove useful in ensuring constant connectivity during severe weather instances.

By prioritizing communication, investing in specialized tools, managing downtime effectively, implementing preventive measures, and coordinating seamlessly, fleets can confidently navigate the challenges posed by extreme weather conditions.

About the author
Hillary Weiss

Hillary Weiss

Senior Editor

Hillary Weiss is a former senior editor at Bobit. She has a decade of digital publishing experience and a passion for all things related to fleets.

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