Winter conditions can be unforgiving for drivers. It doesn’t matter if you drive a truck or commute to the office in your own car – minimizing the chances of accidents is imperative. Here are some tips that are going to keep your employees safe while driving this winter.
Winter is coming. So you know what that means. That’s right folks – time to brace yourself for the cold commutes, snow-covered cars and slippery roads.
Whenever this time of year comes around, I know that there’s a lot to consider when it comes to driving to and from work safely – especially if you work in notoriously colder parts of the world like Ohio, Canada, and Norway, to name a few. It can be a lot to worry about!
And if the following numbers don’t make you drive safer this winter, nothing will:
- According to the FHWA, about 76,000 drivers are injured in accidents when snow hits annually.
- Every year, 800 Americans die in car crashes while driving in harsh winter weather conditions.
- A staggering 70% of American roads are located in snowy regions.
- 70% of the American population live in places that have snowy/icy conditions in the winter.
Whether you commute to work using a vehicle or work in industries with many driving-based jobs like delivery, logistics, or truck dispatching, employees only need to take a few small steps in order to make winter driving a much easier experience.
Reading your company’s driving safety guidelines is a must. But you can also check out these tips that will definitely keep you safer on the road this winter.
Tips To Help Employees Prepare For Safe Winter Driving
Before your car even starts moving this winter, preparation is key to ensuring that your work-based winter drives are as safe as possible. From planning routes to stocking up, we’ve got you covered.
1. Inspect Your Vehicle
First step is checking that everything about your car is in top condition and prepared for the winter elements.
- Test all lights (headlights, brake lights, hazard lights, turn signals, interior lights)
- Check all fluid levels like antifreeze, wiper fluids (rated for -30°F) and oil
- Make sure the battery is working
- Inspect your wiper blades
- Make sure that the windshield defroster and heater works
- Ensure tires are completely inflated
- Check that brakes are working perfectly
2. Plan Your Route In Advance
All drivers should know how to get to their desired destination. Using a GPS system of some kind can help, but it’s recommended to memorize the route beforehand. The snowier and slipperier the roads are, the more imperative it is to keep your eyes on them.
3. Keep Your Gas Tank At Least Half Full
Under normal conditions, car and truck drivers can get away with being a little low on gas. In the winter though, it’s best to keep your tank at least half full. This ensures that you can keep warm in case you get stuck and it helps avoid a frozen gas line.
4. Stock Up On Supplies
You’d be surprised how much you might need if you got stuck on the harsh winter roads. It’s crucial that drivers (whether in healthcare, delivery or simply commuting) stock up on all essentials that could keep you safe. Make sure to buy the following items before your next winter drive:
- Gloves and boots
- Snow scraper and brush
- Hot drinks/snacks
- Jumper cables
- Sand/kitty litter to free tires from snow, slush or ice
- Wiper fluid
5. Dress For The Winter
Sure, your winter commutes will be warm with items such as blankets, gloves and boots. But that’s not enough. Drivers need to make sure they are dressed appropriately for the cold weather conditions. Wearing multiple warm layers, adequate footwear and a winter coat will all stand you in good stead in case your vehicle breaks down or you get stuck in the snow.
6. Warm Up Your Car
Before any winter drive, you should dedicate 5-10 minutes to warming up your vehicle, regardless if it’s a car, cargo van or truck. This helps it defrost and ensures that you will be able to see clearly once you finally hit the road. And if that doesn’t do the trick, take your snow scraper and get rid of any leftover snow or ice.
Although you might be prepared for the cold roads ahead, you need to also give yourself the best chance possible while on the road.
Make Snow Removal So Much Easier This Winter
Tips To Keep Employees Safe While Winter Driving
The actual journey that requires driving in the winter can be full of hazards such as snow and slippery, icy roads. To maximize your chances of safety while driving, make sure to use the following tips.
7. Drive Slowly
If you want to be employee of the month, you need to make sure you get to work safely. It might sound obvious, but driving slower during the winter is essential for your road safety. Make sure to slowly accelerate or decelerate on roads covered in snow or ice.
8. Don’t Follow Other Vehicles Too Closely
It is generally recommended to keep a safe amount of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Driving too closely can cause close shaves and prove to be quite stressful. During the winter though, drivers should add 8-10 seconds to their following distance. Pay extra attention to avoiding snow plows as they have limited visibility.
9. Don’t Use Cruise Control
Using cruise control on wintery roads can be extremely dangerous. If you end up skidding while doing this, your wheels will rapidly spin, meaning that you have less control over your vehicle.
10. Find Out If You Have Anti-Lock Brakes
Whether you’re a plumber or a staffing agent, it’s important to know what kind of brakes you have – it can significantly impact how easy it is to stop on slippery roads. Anti-lock brakes help to reduce braking distances. If you don’t have them, the poor traction will make the wheels lock as soon as you tap the brakes.
11. Try Not To Stop
This might sound like a bizarre tip for winter road safety, but bear with us. Stopping in the winter is generally more dangerous as you’re more likely to skid or slide. Instead of stopping, try slowly decelerating instead. Driving cars, trucks or any other vehicle up an icy hill can be fatal. If you really need to drive uphill in these conditions, make sure to build some momentum on a flat surface beforehand.
12. Take Breaks To Stay Alert
During the winter, drivers are more likely to feel tired due to less sunlight and shorter days. It can help to take breaks to build energy levels back up. Drinking coffee and energy drinks can give drivers a much-needed boost.
Even when you think you have taken every necessary precaution while winter driving, things can go wrong and many drivers can find themselves stuck.
Tips For Employees Who Get Stuck In Their Car During The Winter
Even the safest drivers can’t account for their cars breaking down in the middle of winter. If you simply get caught in some tough snow, you can get stuck and need to know what you can do while waiting for help.
13. Make Your Vehicle Visible
Whether you work in logistics or cleaning, making your car visible in harsh conditions ensures that other drivers can see you. If you have some kind of fluorescent marker to display on top of your vehicle, then even better.
14. Stay In Your Car
More specifically, make sure you stay close to your car – preferably in it. You can potentially get lost or be stuck in the cold.
15. Don’t Run Your Vehicle For Too Long
While it is important to stay warm while waiting for assistance, drivers must be careful how long they run their vehicle for. It’s paramount to save fuel in these conditions.
While these tips will make a huge difference to your winter driving experience, employees can also benefit from the latest tech to make these tips easier to implement.
Use The Latest Technology To Improve Winter Road Safety For Your Employees
Connecteam provides companies with all the tools they need to ensure that road safety is maintained, especially during the winter. Whether it be through training resources, streamlined communication or keeping employees up to date with their latest tasks and responsibilities, Connecteam’s all-in-one, road safety management software is used by companies to make daily operations more efficient and safer.
- Time tracking that employees can use to clock in and out from their smartphone. Both a GPS location and timestamp are tagged in the process (Connecteam also integrates with Quickbooks Online, ensuring completely accurate and smooth payroll).
- Reports can be completed and submitted on the go. Managers can attach pictures and documents such as vehicle inspections, job completion reports, vehicle repair requests, and so much more.
- Shift scheduling to keep employees up to date about what, when and where they are starting their next job. Easily assign the safest routes and update shifts with important details such as time, address, special instructions, the latest weather conditions and traffic warnings.
- Onboard new employees and keep them safe and compliant in no time. Drivers have instant access to safety manuals, local rules and regulations, safety training, and more.
- Internal communication to keep in touch with drivers and employees commuting to and from work. Send company announcements, updates and notifications at the click of a button. Employees can also keep each other safe and alert with private chats (1:1 and groups) and locate individuals in the employee directory.
- Checklists and forms to ensure that employees are following required steps to maintain road safety during the winter. Drivers can confirm which steps they have taken to maximize road safety in harsh conditions, that they have stocked up on all essential supplies and that they have completed all necessary steps before, during and after driving.
- Task management so that employees can execute important one-time tasks, receive reminders and send real-time updates upon completion. One-time tasks can include annual vehicle inspections and license renewals.
Make Your Employees Safer On The Road This Winter
The Bottom Line On Safe Winter Driving For Employees
When those cold, dark days rear their ugly head, drivers need to make sure that they are prepared for every eventuality.
Whether you are commuting to and from work in a car, or you use a vehicle as part of your job, you need to pay some extra attention, no matter where you are.
Follow these tips to prepare your vehicle prior to departure, to drive slowly and to stay safe when stuck in snow.
If you can also use the latest tech to help you solve some of these problems, then this winter will be a joy ride for you and your coworkers.