2019 is already off to a cold start, with temperatures set to drastically plummet over the comings days and weeks, bringing with it hazardous and dangerous driving conditions for fleets across the country. Ahead of the big freeze, Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman, offers his advice on how both operators and drivers can stay vigilant and safe on the roads during the long, cold spell.
1. Weather and route updates
With The Met Office warning that freezing temperatures are set to grip the UK, drivers should try to avoid the more treacherous routes wherever possible.
Using route mapping and planning systems in conjunction with telematics will provide drivers with the latest forecast information, in real-time, so they can make changes to planned routes to help avoid the worst weather-related road disruptions and closures. This will help ensure delivery times are met in a timely and safe manner.
Route planning also means fleet managers will be fully informed of any changes, so they have visibility of where mobile assets are at all times, and can communicate with drivers to discuss and agree any necessary route changes.
2. Stay on top of vehicle maintenance
It is important that vehicle maintenance checks are carried out regularly to keep drivers and other road users safe, especially with snow, frost and ice all putting extra strain on vehicles, making it easy for problems to develop at this time of year. With this in mind, fleet operators must stay informed about the condition of their vehicles, to ensure their entire fleet is roadworthy and compliant.
Drivers should ensure they perform manual checks and help to identify physical problems – like cracked windscreens or under-pressure tyres – which can be addressed before leaving the depot.
Telematics software can help fleets keep on top of any upcoming maintenance needs by providing alerts on any impending or overdue tasks. Fleet managers can receive regular reports, which will minimise business disruptions as maintenance needs can be scheduled in advance. This will optimise your vehicle maintenance management throughout the winter season, and importantly keep your vehicles out on the roads and customers happy.
3. Safe driving styles
Fleet managers and business owners need to play their part in encouraging safe driving, by reiterating the importance of driving with extra caution during spells of bad weather.
Be mindful of potential delays when it comes to managing schedules by building in levels of time contingency during this period.
Telematics can play a huge role in helping with driver safety, by providing fleet managers and drivers with in-depth insights into driver behaviour and compliance.
For example, if drivers breach the speed limit, brake sharply or take corners dangerously, fleet operators are automatically notified and any breaches can then be addressed and further training provided if necessary. Geo-fencing can also be used to impose a virtual speed limit for a particularly risky stretch, to encourage drivers to navigate certain locations more carefully.
Preparation and greater awareness of the dangers drivers can face on the road during severe weather is crucial. Telematics has a huge role to play with regards to this, by offering critical information to fleet managers and drivers alike.
Winter amplifies road issues, but by implementing telematics technology, you have a complete overview of detailed vehicle and driver behaviour data, to enable the maximum safety of your fleet all year round. We really encourage businesses to use the wealth of telematics data at their disposal, to help keep all road users as safe as possible.