Fleet Safety - What to do if stranded in poor weather
Source: FleetAnswers Winter weather is here in full force, and with that weather comes plenty of opportunities for fleet vehicles to get stranded in the snow. Fleet managers need to have a solid plan to protect their drivers and their vehicles from getting stranded, because it is going to happen from time to time. Making a plan before a problem arises is the key to handling the problem well.
First, your plan for winter weather needs to include two things. First, it needs to include a plan for how to try to get out of a situation where a vehicle seems stranded. Teaching drivers specific techniques for dealing with snow can help prevent the loss of a vehicle for an extended period of time.
The first option to try as you seek to avoid being fully stuck is to rock out. To do this, instruct the driver to straighten the wheels of the vehicle and switch back and forth between drive and reverse, rocking the vehicle back and forth, as long as the wheels do not start to spin. Change the direction of the tires if they are spinning. If the driver starts to gain ground, keep pushing the gas until the vehicle is on solid ground.
Another option is to dig a path for the wheels using a snow shovel, which should be included in a winter driving safety kit. Add something, like sand, to give the wheels traction, and attempt to get out of the situation.
Next, if the driver finds that he is truly stuck and cannot get out, your fleet needs a plan for dealing with a stranded driver situation and a winter preparedness kit in each truck. If the driver cannot get out of the stranded situation and does not feel it is safe to walk to shelter, they should have enough supplies to stay safe until the storm is passed and emergency personnel can get to them.
Tips for Winter Weather and Stranded Vehicles
Winter weather is a reality for much of the country. As you consider your plan for those times when vehicles are stranded, consider these tips:
- Stock each vehicle with a winter weather preparedness kit. The kit should include ice scraper, shovel, blanket or hand warmers for warmth, sand or kitty litter for traction, nonperishable food and water. Keep in mind in a severe snowstorm it could be several hours before snow plows and emergency personnel can get to a stranded vehicle.
- Teach drivers the "rocking out" method to attempt to get out from a stranded position.
- Teach drivers to use newspapers, maps and floor mats to insulate the vehicle if stranded.
- Tell drivers to run the vehicle's engine for 10 minutes per hour while stranded, with the heater and dome light on.
- Remind drivers to clear snow from the exhaust pipe and to open a window to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
The best option is, of course, to avoid going out in dangerous weather, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. Have a plan in place for those times when a driver is stranded to protect your fleet and your drivers.
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