Fleet Management Spotlight

By Paul Fitzgerald

Gear Up for Winter
Gear Up For Winter

6 Tips To Gear Up For WinterWinter is coming and it's time to prepare your fleet for the first blast of icy weather. There are a lot of things fleet managers can do to keep their drivers safe and their vehicles running all season long. In addition to traditional preparation, there is a growing number of high-tech solutions on the market that can help ensure a safe and prosperous winter. Here are six tips for winter readiness.

  1. Vehicle maintenance. Make sure your vehicles are equipped with fresh winter tires and that they're properly inflated. Make sure that your fluids are topped up and that the vehicle's heating and window defrost systems are working properly. Consider switching to winterized fuel once the temperature drops.

  1. Emergency kits. Do your vehicles contain blankets, water, road flares, fire extinguishers and jumper cables? These essential items can help keep your drivers safe and as comfortable as possible if they're sidelined by inclement weather.
  2. Mobile communications. Make sure your drivers are equipped with current Smartphones and reliable cellular connectivity. It's absolutely vital that you can reach your drivers at all times, especially during really bad weather. What's more, today's top Smartphones will allow your drivers to use safety apps.
  3. Mobile apps. There are a number of mobile apps available that provide convenience and safety benefits. For example, Copilot Truck provides voice-guided GPS that directs drivers along the best trucking routes. It considers vehicle size and weight along with load type when selecting routes. This can be really handy if the weather is bad and drivers need to make unscheduled route changes.
  4. Remote sensor technology. Companies like Seattle-based Zonar are changing the industry by equipping entire vehicles with remote sensors that can provide drivers and managers with both GPS tracking and data on driving performance, maintenance reports, and more. Remote sensors can provide real-time alerts when vehicles are experiencing mechanical difficulties?alerts which can be critical when driving conditions are poor.
  5. Driver scorecards. Remote sensors also enable companies like Actsoft to record driving performance data, such as speed and braking habits, and formulate it into driver scorecards, which can be evaluated by fleet managers and drivers alike. They can help determine whether drivers have habits that are unsafe in winter conditions, such as sudden braking. Drivers can then make improvements that will help keep them safe.

There's a lot to think about when it comes to winter prep, but these solutions will go a long way in ensuring you have a safe and profitable season. Modern conveniences like GPS tracking let you know where your drivers are, so you can find them if they're in trouble. It also lets you plan routes more efficiently. More and more, fleet managers are fully equipping their vehicles with sensors for the ultimate in performance management and safety. If you haven't adopted these high-tech solutions yet, maybe it's time for an overhaul.