Though winter driving can be hazardous, the right preparations can help your employees stay safe and deal effectively with an emergency, should the need arise. The following are a few tips for keeping your vehicle fleet in top shape and stocking each vehicle with the right emergency supplies this winter.
PREPARE YOUR VEHICLE FOR WINTER DRIVING
Properly preparing your vehicle for winter driving can help reduce the risks of being stranded in adverse weather conditions or being involved in an accident. Here are a few tips for maintaining your vehicle fleet:
- Have a professional inspect the vehicle on a regular basis and make any necessary repairs.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas in the vehicle at all times.
- Check vehicle fluids regularly to ensure they are at the proper level, including coolant, brake fluid, oil, transmission fluid, and windshield fluid.
- Have the battery checked and replace it if necessary.
- Check tire pressure at least once per month, and rotate tires as recommended. Replace tires if there is inadequate tread or signs of damage or uneven wear. Check the spare tire and make sure the jack is in good working condition.
- Make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition, both for passenger comfort and driver visibility.
- Inspect windshield wipers and replace as needed; if you live in a harsh climate, purchase winter blades to fight ice build-up.
- Inspect all lights and bulbs. Replace burned out bulbs and clean road grime from all lenses.
VEHICLE EMERGENCY KIT
All of your employees should be prepared for a vehicle emergency by having the following items on hand in their vehicle at all times. Should an emergency occur, these supplies can make a huge difference in keeping your employees safe.
- Blankets / sleeping bags
- Coat / rain poncho / extra winter clothes
- Hand / foot warmers
- Water and snack items (energy bars, nuts, sports drinks, jerky, dried fruit, hard candies, tuna packs)
- Emergency flares
- Cell phone and extra car charger
- Emergency radios
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Traction aids (sand or cat litter)
- Tire chains
- Tow chain
- Windshield scraper and snow brush
KEEPING SAFE IF STRANDED
Share these tips with your employees and encourage them to follow these recommendations if they become stranded due to vehicle malfunction or an accident.
Stay in the vehicle. Don’t leave the vehicle to search for help unless help is visible within 100 yards.
To keep warm but also conserve fuel, turn on the engine and run the heater for about 10 minutes each hour. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning – keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow and open a window slightly for ventilation.
Try not to stay in one position for too long. Move arms and legs and clap hands to keep up circulation. Take turns sleeping if more than one person is in the vehicle.
Raise the vehicle hood and hang a brightly colored cloth on the antenna as a trouble sign.