As the popular song goes, it’s a “beautiful sight” walking in a winter wonderland. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case when it comes to driving in the wintertime.
For many parts of the U.S. and Canada, January means winter weather is on full blast. For fleets (and their drivers) who spend a large part of their time on the roads, this translates to dangerous driving conditions and gridlock from snow and ice storms. This also can mean vehicle trouble related to harsh drops in the temperature.
Increasingly, fleets are turning to technology to alleviate some of the hassles that come with the colder temperatures and winter weather driving. By relying on the right solutions, you, too, can stay ahead of the weather and keep running safely and efficiently, regardless of what Mother Nature throws your way.
Some of these solutions include:
1. Weather Conditions and Forecasting Apps:
Snow and freezing rain can make for slippery and treacherous roadways. One of the most important ways fleets can prepare for winter weather is by knowing the real-time conditions of the roads they are operating on–both currently and further along down a driver’s route.
According to the most recent U.S. Department of Transportation study between 2005 and 2014, 22 percent of all vehicle crashes were weather-related. Of these crashes, 73 percent are caused by wet roadways. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration projects that weather-related delays add $3.4 million a year to freight costs.
To eliminate some of these delays, fleets are turning to solutions like Trimble’s myRoads. Launched earlier this year, myRoads is a weather alerting solution that provides drivers with information on current and forecasted road and weather conditions along their route.
2. Fault Monitoring and Maintenance Alerts:
As anyone who has tried to start a car in brutally cold weather can attest to, extremely low temperatures can make it hard for the engine to turn over immediately. Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are no different.
Many fleets take precautionary measures like adding fuel additives to prevent common winter problems like diesel fuel gelling (when the paraffin typically present in the fuel begins to solidify). Unfortunately, the effects of winter weather go well beyond just impacting a truck’s fuel tank.
According to a study by the United States Department of Transportation, prolonged episodes of cold weather can “degrade both the safety and performance characteristics of CMVs” including the “engines, tires and mechanical and hydraulic systems.”
With Trimble’s wide range of remote diagnostics solutions, fleets can get better visibility into when a specific vehicle has a fault event, whether it is related specifically to cold weather or not. This knowledge allows them to proactively respond and schedule maintenance. Not only does this help to increase efficiencies but it also helps their drivers avoid breakdowns, a potentially dangerous situation should a driver be stranded in extreme temperatures while waiting for assistance.
3. Video Intelligence:
All of the benefits of meticulous planning and preparation can go out the window when something unexpected happens. Even after adjusting your driving to tough winter conditions, accidents still can happen, especially because you cannot control how other drivers behave on the road.
If and when an accident happens, more and more fleets are turning to video to help them better understand the circumstances and get a neutral eyewitness to potentially exonerate their driver.
Trimble’s Video Intelligence provides fleets with a near 360-degree view around a truck, including left and right view cameras built into a truck’s spot mirrors and a wireless backup camera that live streams in-cab video. The captured footage could be the evidence a driver needs to keep his or her job, save employers significant money, and help companies take preventative measures by improving driver performance and adopting safer company standards.
The hassles of winter weather make this of the year a challenging time on the roads. While you can’t make time go by any faster, you can begin to look at using technology to lessen winter’s impact on your fleet.
Contact us today to learn more about any of the solutions detailed above and find out how Trimble can help you to operate safer, greener and more efficiently in all seasons.