The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Fleet Safety Tip of the Week

November 23, 2011

It's snow season again in many parts of the country, so now is a good time to revisit tips for driving in the snow. Here's some advice culled from the Colorado Driver Handbook. You may want to pass this along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.

Streets and highways covered with snow, snowpack or ice are extremely hazardous. They are most hazardous when the snow or ice begins to melt. The slush or wet surface acts as a lubricant and traction is reduced. Overpasses, bridges, shaded areas and snow-packed portions of the road can be icy even when other pavement is not.

If you begin to skid, let up on the accelerator and turn the front wheels in the direction of the skid.

Here are a few simple precautions that you can follow: 

1. Make sure your tires have good tread for adequate traction. In winter, chains or snow tires are certainly preferable. However, remember that even chains and snow tires will slip on slick pavement.

2. Make sure your brakes are in good condition and properly adjusted so that the braking power of each wheel is uniform. 

Anti-Lock Brakes -- Apply the brakes with hard, firm pressure from the start of the skid and maintain this pressure until you have stopped. You may feel or hear vibrations and/or pulsations. This is normal. 

No Anti-Lock Brakes -- Threshold breaking: Apply the brakes just hard enough to not lock the wheels, release and apply the brakes the same way again.

3. Keep the windows clear by making certain the defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly. Use a good window scraper to remove all ice, snow and frost even if you are just traveling a short distance. Fogging or condensation of moisture on the inside of the windshield can quickly be removed by opening the side vent windows.

4. Be alert for snowplows and sanding trucks. They use flashing yellow and blue lights as a warning for you to use extreme caution when approaching or passing them. (For advice from a snowplow driver interviewed by the Weather Channel, click here.) 

5. Maintain an extra large space between you and the car ahead.

6. Start gradually by using a low gear and accelerating gently.


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