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6 Winter Driving Safety Tips for Government Fleets

By Verizon Connect October 11, 2022

Winter is almost here, and with it comes freezing rain, sleet, snow and frigid temperatures. Such inclement weather can have a significant impact on driving conditions, making driver safety imperative.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, there’s an average of 5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year, and approximately 21% are weather-related.1 Twenty-four percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, and 15% happen during snowfall or sleet.2

Over 70% of U.S roads are located in snowy regions that receive more than five inches of annual average snowfall,2 meaning that most government fleets will feel the potential impact of winter weather at some point.

Whether the government fleet is tasked with providing critical services, or keeping citizens safe, these stats highlight the impact that winter weather can have. Not only do they have to deal with the winter conditions, they often have to safely respond to accidents and other issues caused by inclement weather.  

To help keep government fleet drivers and vehicles protected and productive this winter season, here are six tips to keep in mind.

  1. Winterize fleet vehicles. Have vehicles serviced for routine maintenance before the weather gets worse. Check tire pressure and consider switching to snow/winter tires, check the battery, install new windshield wipers, top off windshield washer fluid, change the oil, change air filters, keep gas tanks half-to-completely filled, and wash vehicles to ensure nothing obstructs a driver’s view of the roadway.
  2. Complete a thorough brake inspection. On snowy and/or icy roads, it can take up to ten times longer to stop a vehicle.3 So, it’s important to verify that the brake pads, brake discs and steering are all working correctly on every fleet vehicle before the bad weather sets in.
  3. Stay on top of weather conditions. Winter weather can be unpredictable. It’s important to check the weather forecast before every road trip to plan the best route. It’s equally important to regularly recheck for weather updates to monitor for sudden storms or snow events. GPS tracking technology can help by automatically updating drivers with the latest weather conditions.
  4. Carry an emergency kit. Every fleet vehicle should have a winter kit on hand for emergencies, with water, food, blankets, flashlights, road flares, first aid essentials and reflective vests included. These items are invaluable to keep drivers safe during an emergency, like being trapped on roads cut off by snow. Snow chains should also be in every vehicle that doesn’t use winter tires.
  5. Reinforce driving precautions. Remind fleet drivers to exercise more caution while traveling in winter conditions. Remind them to reduce their speed and not follow cars too closely. Also remind them that, should they encounter black ice or slippery snowy roads, and their vehicle starts sliding, to turn into the skid. They should also avoid distracted driving and proceed with extra caution in winding mountain terrains and over bridges which tend to freeze first.
  6. Take advantage of telematics. In addition to keeping tabs on weather, telematics and GPS tracking can help drivers and vehicles stay safe in other ways. If an accident or emergency occurs, their exact location can be pinpointed to ensure help gets there quickly. Telematics can also help drivers to reroute if traffic backs up or if weather conditions along an existing route turn bad. 

While winter weather can hinder productivity and increase safety risks, being proactively prepared to drive in it is a fleet’s best defense. Schedule a demo today at verizonconnect.com to see how telematics can help your government fleet promote safety during winter months and all year round.

1 https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm 

2  https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/weather_events/snow_ice.htm 

3 https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/2020_OHSP_WinterDriving_Infographic_V5.11_708280_7.pdf

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Vehicle Maintenance, Safety, Team Management, Performance & Coaching

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