For many employees, the drive to work is the most dangerous part of their day.
The risks increase during the winter months, when shorter days and slick roads due to rain, snow, and ice make road conditions even more treacherous.
Each year, around 900 people are killed and almost 76,000 people are injured in car wrecks during snowfall or sleet, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Whether your employees are operating a commercial truck, driving a company vehicle, or simply commuting to work, these winter driving safety tips will help ensure that they arrive at their destination safely.
- Review your company’s policy on employee cell phone use while driving. Distracted driving is dangerous any time of year, but it’s especially hazardous on wet or icy roads.
- Inspect company vehicles to make sure they’re in good working condition for winter driving. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recommends checking the battery, oil and fluid levels, exhaust system, brakes, tires, heater/defroster, and wipers.
- Make sure tires are properly inflated. Remember that tires lose pressure in cold weather.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least ½ full. Not only will this reduce your risk of getting stranded, it can also help prevent condensation and freezing in the fuel system.
- Always remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors, and lights.
- Warm up your vehicle before driving on cold winter days. However, most experts agree that just 1-2 minutes is adequate.
- Increase your following distance from 3-4 seconds to 8-10 seconds on wet or snowy roads to leave room in case you need to stop.
- Make sure company vehicles are equipped with proper supplies such as a snow scraper and brush, extra wiper fluid, sand or kitty litter, jumper cables, gloves, blankets, and a flashlight.
- Take steps to prevent drowsy driving. Shorter days and less sunlight can increase fatigue and make drivers feel sleepy.
- Ensure that parking lots, garages and walkways are adequately lit. Especially during the dark winter months, good lighting is essential for safety and security. Extremely cold temperatures may impact the performance of some types of lights, such as mercury vapor and fluorescents.
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By following these winter driving safety tips, you can protect your workers from an accident. Click here for more workplace winter safety tips. And don't forget to download our free 2020 workplace safety calendar for more safety tips, topics, and resources,