How Weather Affects a Fleet Operation
Whether you own a company that operates a fleet of vehicles or you’re a fleet driver yourself, the weather often has an effect on fleet operation.
While day to day weather, like a little rain or wind, will have little to no effect on your fleet operation, snow, strong winds, storms, heavy rain or fog can. Here we look at some of the common reasons why.
Visibility and vision are decreased:
Harsher weather like snow, fog, hail and heavy rain can all decrease a driver’s view of the road, making driving more difficult. This type of weather will also decrease your vehicle’s visibility to other vehicles and pedestrians.
While you can’t control the weather, there are a few things that you can do to increase your vision:
- Keep windows and windscreens as clean as possible
- Use headlights, full beam, and even fog lights when necessary
- Use navigation software to give an outline of the road ahead (although be careful not to get distracted as that will be even more dangerous)
Traffic congestion often increases:
When the weather is poor, there’s often more traffic congestion on the roads. This can be from people slowing down to stay safe while driving through poor weather conditions, like ice and heavy rain. Drivers may also slow down due to widening gaps between vehicles to make sure they can stop in time. During the winter, you could also see more maintenance workers clearing up debris due to the bad weather, which in turn can cause an increase in traffic congestion.
Drivers may have to slow down:
In poor weather conditions, like snow and sleet, the roads become more slippery. This means that drivers have to slow down, in order to keep control of their vehicle and remain safe. As a result it’s likely that a fleet will take much longer to reach their destination, and the whole fleet operation will slow down.
Roads are closed more often:
As just mentioned, there may be more maintenance work on the roads, meaning roads are closed more often. This means that drivers have to take an alternative route to their destination, making their journeys longer and using more fuel. The best thing to do in this situation is keep up with traffic news and utilize GPS. Doing this can let you know in advance what roads are closed and stop you from wasting time.
Deliveries take longer to unload or load:
Loading and unloading products from vehicles often takes much longer when the weather is poor. Wind, rain, ice and snow all make it more difficult for people to safely load and unload a vehicle, and poor visibility can mean that unloading or loading a vehicle is just too dangerous to do until it clears.
Changes of breaking down are higher:
Harsh weather conditions, particularly cold weather, puts more pressure and strain on a vehicle and its engine. This means that breakdowns are more likely to occur, disrupting fleet operations. Before setting out on a journey, ensure that car batteries are charged and healthy and that all vehicles are well-maintained.
Overall, the weather can have a big effect on fleet operation. Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather, meaning that it’s always going to have an impact on your fleet operations. However, there are simple things that you can do – like utilizing GPS, maintaining your vehicles, and planning journeys beforehand – that will lessen the impact that weather conditions will have on your fleet operations.