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5 tips for effective fleet management during winter

As we all know, the roads become more hazardous during winter. As a fleet manager, it is your duty to make sure your employees are driving safely and economically. Here are five top tips for successful fleet management this winter:

1. Maintenance

Before the cold sets in, it’s imperative to make sure your vehicles have had winter “check-ups”. It’s always important to keep an eye on your vehicles tyre pressure, but even more so in winter. The AA recommends at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring*. Another option could be fitting your vehicles with winter tyres or all season tyres. Your vehicles should have their lights and battery checked as well, as they can run down quickly during winter. RAM Tracking’s software has an alert that you can set up for your fleet, which will tell you when your vehicles are due for a service or MOT. With this software, you will always be sure that your vehicle’s are roadworthy, especially over the winter months.

Make sure your fleet are constantly checking fluid levels. Screen wash, coolant and fuel are vital when it comes to the running of your fleet. Without screen wash and coolant, visibility can be compromised, which makes for a dangerous journey in winter. Your fleet need to keep an eye on their fuel levels as they don’t want to be caught short whilst driving. Keeping a screen scraper and anti-freeze spray in the vehicles is a must for your fleet!

2. Staff management

Before your fleet have even set off on their journey’s, we recommend checking the weather forecast and encouraging your fleet to do the same. Be realistic with your staff and always consider if the journey is essential or if it could be postponed. If the weather is taking a turn for the worst, the chances are the journey is not worth it. Never ask your staff to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Keep in contact with your fleet during bad weather conditions.

Using GPS, you can track your vehicles live in real-time which means you can keep tabs on where they are and if they are stuck in traffic. It also allows you to send your drivers the most efficient route. David Morgan, General Manager at Chep UK Ltd praised the RAM system as he can see the whereabouts of his trucks in seconds, as the system is constantly updating.

3. Speeding

During winter, visibility can be poor and your vehicle’s stopping distance can be unpredictable. Speeding can be dangerous in normal circumstances; this is amplified when the roads are covered in snow or ice. It can also cost your company in the form of speeding fines. A way to overcome this could be to offer incentives for your safest drivers. You can track your drivers speeding habits by using GPS tracking devices; they can create speeding reports and alerts.

The RAM Tracking system can create a speeding league table, which can show you which drivers are speeding the most. The speeding report is colour coded, which makes it really easy for you to see where the problem areas are.

4. Emergency protocol

Accidents or break downs can happen anywhere and at any time. It is essential that your drivers know the procedure when these things happen. It’s a good idea to make sure your drivers have their break down service details in their phones and also written down somewhere in their vehicles. If your company has a specific emergency procedure handbook, this would also be useful to keep a copy of in their vehicles. Our GPS tracking devices have an impact detector on them; reports can be created and email alerts can also be sent to you if your vehicles have had some form of impact.

5. Idling

Idling uses up a lot of fuel and can drain your vehicle’s battery, in addition to creating pollutants that can be harmful to your driver’s health. According to the Environmental Media Association** (EMA) the pollutants caused by idling have been linked with health issues such as asthma, heart disease and other allergies. It’s understandable in winter that your drivers want to keep warm while they’re waiting or have their lights on for comfort during the dark mornings and early nights. We recommend kitting out every vehicle with blankets and torches. That way, when stopped for long periods of time, they can keep warm and have some light.

In order to cut down on idling, some cities have been handing out penalties to drivers who have refused to turn off their engines when asked by an authorised officer. This technique could be applied to your fleet, much like the suggestion on speeding. Using GPS tracking, you can see when your drivers have been idling and how long for. You can then use this information to penalise them if they are idling for long periods of time. Customers of RAM Tracking, Gough and Kelly, have stated that they saved so much money on idling alone. Watch the video for yourself here.

Considering these effective fleet management tips during winter could save your company money and keep your employees safe at the same time. 

*http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/seasonal/winter_motoring.html

**http://www.green4ema.org/everything-you-need-to-know-about-idling/

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