Brace your trucks and drivers, winter is coming. In fact, it’s already almost here. Some places have already seen a significant amount of snow this year and more is coming. The farmer’s almanac is predicting extra cold and snowy conditions.
Before your drivers and loads get stranded or find themselves in an emergency situation make sure they are educated and prepared for winter. You will save more money and be thankful that you did in the long run.
Winterizing Your Fleet
Make sure that each of your rigs is outfitted with the proper emergency tools that your driver may need. It’s always good to have water and imperishable food available in case a driver gets stuck.
Also, advise your drivers to pack extra clothes that will stand up to harsh winter conditions. This includes hats, gloves, an extra jacket, and extra blankets. A good pair of boots is another great item to have. It’s best if all of the gear is waterproof, to help you stay warm and dry.
Other emergency items that are good to have are a flashlight, extra batteries, flares, and extra phone battery, portable hand-crank radio, salt or sand, and matches.
Another good practice for your drivers is to keep their gas tanks filled at least half-way. You never want to run out during a winter storm. Also, keep in mind that water vapor can collect in the bottom of tanks and freeze during the winter when pulled into the engine’s full line. Add some fuel-line antifreeze to your tank to prevent this problem.
Speaking of fluids like fuel, it’s also important to check the oil and fluid levels in each of your trucks. If you have different types of trucks refer to each of their manuals for their recommended oil viscosity in the event of freezing temperatures.
Make sure all of the fluids are topped off including the power steering, battery fluids, engine coolants, and more. The winter is also a great time to change all of your filters to prevent moisture from building up and freezing.
You will also want to go under the hood of each vehicle to check on the important things like your battery. It needs extra juice to start in the winter, so replace it if it’s old and make sure it’s free of corrosion. Along with the battery, make sure the spark plugs are clean and your belts aren’t cracking.
We know tires are expensive but they are also incredibly important. If your rigs have worn out tires consider replacing them with winter tires so they will have the traction they need to face winter conditions. Also, your drivers should make sure they’re properly inflated and make sure all the vehicle lights are working before they hit the road.
The defrosters in each truck should be working and your drivers should completely defrost the vehicle and remove all the ice or snow from on top of and around the vehicle at each stop. Also, make sure the window wipers can handle ice or snow or be sure to replace them.
Talk to your drivers about driving in winter conditions. Make sure they slow down, don’t brake too hard, or accelerate quickly. They will need to keep extra distance between themselves and other vehicles, remain calm, never use cruise control, and watch out for black ice.
They should never drive through a storm they don’t feel comfortable in and should pay attention to the weather. This way they will know when to reroute around a storm and when they need to park and wait it out.
While the winter brings about many joyous holidays and a sense of wonder as you sip hot cocoa with your family, but it also brings huge storms and freezing temperatures! Make sure your fleet is prepared to face the season before you run out of time!
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