According to the Federal Highway Administration, 23 percent of highway crashes are weather-related. Although it’s easy to blame the weather, failing to properly maintain vehicles for cold weather driving also contributes to this statistic.
Fleet managers and drivers should follow these five suggestions to prepare their vehicles for winter driving.
Check Your Tires Now and Throughout the Season
Tires have one primary function—to keep you on the road. Keeping tires properly inflated and in good condition will help prevent accidents. Check for uneven or insufficient tread. Tread should be at least onesixth of an inch or greater.
Remember, in the wintertime, tire pressure drops when the vehicle isn’t driven. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times.
Schedule a Tune-Up
A simple fix could help drivers avoid becoming stranded this winter. A preseason tune-up can identify any problems with the vehicle’s battery, brakes, cooling system, lights, hoses, and belts. If a problem is detected, now is the time to replace or repair parts.
Resolve Visibility Issues
Poor visibility leads to accidents, so make sure windshield wipers work and replace worn wipers if necessary. If you are driving in snowy regions, replace standard wipers with heavy duty winter wipers. Also check to make sure the front and rear defrosters are working and remember to stock up on windshield wiper fluid.
Don’t Let Floor Mats Trip You Up
Incorrectly or improperly installed floor mats may interfere with pedal operation. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing floor mats. Clean the snow and ice from mats often, and verify that the mats have been reinstalled correctly after cleaning.
Talk Winter Driver Safety
Get your drivers together for a safety meeting. Remind them about completing a driver vehicle inspection after each trip and discuss how best to respond to emergency situations.
You can’t control the weather, but with proper maintenance and driver training, you can control how your vehicle performs.
Source: EMC Insurance, Insights, October 1, 2015