With Storm Caroline set to hit the UK with strong winds of up to 80mph this week, hazardous and dangerous driving conditions could cause issues for fleets across the country.
Peter Millichap, UK Marketing Director at Teletrac Navman, offers his advice on how fleet operators and drivers can stay vigilant and safe on the roads.
1. Weather and route updates
Fleet managers and drivers need to keep regularly informed of changes in weather conditions.
With a severe weather warning issued for Northern Scotland for this week, alongside a yellow weather warning in force across the whole of the UK, drivers should try and avoid hazardous 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 ensure delivery times are met.
Fleet managers will also 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. Vehicle maintenance
With snow showers expected this week, and frosty weather expected throughout December and January, it’s important that regular vehicle maintenance checks are carried out.
Snow, frost and ice all put extra strain on vehicles, so it's easy for problems to develop at this time of year.
It is essential that fleet operators are regularly informed about the condition of their vehicles, to ensure their entire fleet is roadworthy and compliant.
Drivers should be encouraged to perform manual checks, which can 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
Fleet managers and business owners need to play their part in encouraging safe driving, by reiterating the importance of driving with extra caution during treacherous weather conditions.
Also, stay mindful of potential delays when it comes to managing your schedule, so it’s best practice to build 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 insight 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.
We really encourage businesses to use the wealth of telematics data at their disposal, to help keep all road users safe.”
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 complete overview of detailed vehicle and driver behaviour data, to enable the maximum safety of your fleet all year round.