Managing and maintaining a vehicle fleet is an area where being well-prepared for seasonal variations is absolutely crucial, as driving in cold and icy weather can be exceedingly risky. Even experienced professionals can occasionally be trapped in a snowbank or skid on clear ice. That’s why safeguarding the fleet against harsh winter weather is essential for keeping your drivers protected and your routes operational.
Having a reliable heater and snow tire chains are only two aspects of achieving winter fleet safety. What’s important is ensuring your cars are in excellent shape and capable of operating even when temperatures drop below freezing. So if you anticipate snow in winter, it’s time to start making these five key winter fleet preparations!
Switch to Anti-Freeze Windscreen Wiper Fluid
Sometimes, wiper fluid can mean the matter of life or death. Regular warm-weather wiper fluid can definitely freeze and become ineffective when your drivers need it most. The worst scenario that can happen is when a driver urgently needs to clean their windscreen to see the dangerous winter road clearly, only to discover that the wiper fluid has frozen over in the container.
Therefore, it’s crucial to switch to cold-weather wiper fluid during winter. These often include a significant amount of alcohol that will not freeze and are still great at removing stains, insect entrails, and potentially deadly coatings of ice from clinging to your windscreen.
Remove Summer Oil and Add Winter Oil
Just like windscreen wiper fluid, oil in the vehicles is also affected by freezing temperatures. Although the oil won’t completely freeze over, it can thicken and stiffen to the point where it becomes difficult to flow through engines. If this occurs when your drivers are already on the road, there aren’t many solutions because the engine simply can’t start when it’s too cold. That’s why it’s important to remove all summer oil and replace it with winter oil before this happens. Winter oil is thinner, so it will maintain enough fluidity to circulate even when it stiffens in the cold.
Replace All-Season Tires with New Winter Tires
Throughout the year, all-season tires are handy and excellent for everyday driving, but they might not provide sufficient traction during winter based on how severe the icy conditions can be where you are. Make sure your fleet changes to winter tires the moment it gets frosty or anytime you feel the roads require more tire traction to stay safe.
Thoroughly Inspect Batteries and Brakes
Be sure to conduct a comprehensive and in-depth inspection of every vehicle, devoting more care and stringent safety checks for the batteries, and brakes. Batteries, especially old ones, need to be paid close attention to because when they are left in a freezing vehicle overnight or even for several hours, they usually die. The brakes which are essential for guaranteeing road safety can also suffer from the cold conditions and need to be meticulously checked.
Ensure Heaters Are Functioning Well
Lastly, a working heater is imperative in keeping your field staff and drivers comfortable and toasty no matter how chilly it is outdoors, so it’s crucial to examine them meticulously to ensure they’re in tip-top shape. All in all, with winter-ready vehicles, fleet drivers can have every safety advantage available when traveling for long periods over vast distances of icy roadways.