How To Keep Your Fleet Safe During The Summer Months?

How to Keep Fleet Safety During the Summer Months? | The Enterprise World

Summer brings sunshine and longer days, but it also poses unique challenges for your fleet safety.

The combination of hot weather, increased traffic, and more road construction can create hazardous driving conditions. As a fleet manager or small business owner, it’s crucial to take proactive measures to protect your vehicles, drivers, and assets during this time of year. 

Excessive heat can lead to tire blowouts, engine overheating, and battery failures. Glare from the sun can impair a driver’s visibility and cause accidents. Increased road construction and traffic during the summer months also elevate accident risks.

Implementing a few simple strategies can go a long way toward ensuring your fleet safety and minimizing the risks associated with summer driving.

Conduct Vehicle Inspections and Maintenance

Regular vehicle inspections and maintenance are essential to prevent breakdowns and ensure optimal performance. It is a well-known fact that fleets that switch to preventative maintenance experience a 25% decrease in breakdowns and unscheduled vehicle downtime.

The goal of preventative maintenance (PM) is to avoid any servicing until the next scheduled PM. So, before the summer heat sets in, check your vehicles’ tires, fluids, batteries, and air conditioning systems. Look for signs of wear and tear, and address any issues promptly. You can perform basic inspections and maintenance tasks yourself, such as checking tire pressure, fluid levels, and air filters. 

Apart from this basic stuff, focus on the following: 

  • Batteries: Heat speeds up battery deterioration. Make sure your batteries are in good condition, and consider a load test for any vehicles that are struggling to start.
  • Fluids: Summer isn’t just about coolants. Check oil levels (heat thins oil), transmission fluid, and even windshield washer levels for those dusty summer roads.
  • Air conditioning: This is not just about comfort. A driver struggling in the heat is tired and has slower reactions, putting everyone at risk.

For more complex issues or repairs, partner with a trusted, budget-friendly repair shop. Staying on top of maintenance will not only improve safety but also extend the lifespan of your fleet safety vehicles.

Prioritize Driver Safety and Training

How to Keep Fleet Safety  During the Summer Months? | The Enterprise World

Your drivers are your most valuable assets, and you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of heat on them.

Educate them on the unique hazards of summer driving, such as increased glare, heat exhaustion, and the potential for vehicle overheating. Implement policies that encourage regular breaks, hydration, and finding shade during hot weather. Educate them about heat exhaustion and dehydration. These aren’t just a discomfort; they seriously impair judgment. 

Ensure drivers know the signs (dizziness, nausea) and take breaks immediately. Stock your vehicles with water, and electrolytes, and not just sugary drinks and caffeine that worsen dehydration. If your company has a uniform policy, make sure the summer version allows breathability. Talk to your employees about staying cool while meeting safety standards.

Conduct in-house or online training sessions to reinforce defensive driving techniques and best practices for dealing with sun glare, fatigue, and other summer-specific challenges. Encourage open communication, so drivers can report issues or concerns without hesitation.

Use windshield sunshades when vehicles are parked to reduce interior heat buildup. Invest in window tinting to further reduce heat and UV damage to your vehicles’ interiors. If possible, consider covered or shaded parking areas to minimize direct sun exposure.

Leverage Technology for Monitoring and Support

Affordable telematics solutions can provide valuable insights into vehicle health and driver behavior. 

How to Keep Fleet Safety  During the Summer Months? | The Enterprise World

These systems consist of sensors, driver cams, and GPS that alert you to issues like rapid acceleration, harsh braking, excessive idling, or unsafe driving practices exacerbated by heat and frustration. This allows you to address risky driving habits through coaching and training. Leaving vehicles idling with AC wastes fuel and strains engines in the heat. 

Many GPS systems now offer alerts to reduce this costly habit. Moreover, GPS systems also help reduce fuel expenses (by 10%), accident costs (by 17%), and labor costs (by 11%), according to Verizon Connect’s 2024 Fleet Technology Trends Report. Simple vehicle tracking systems can also help you monitor real-time locations and quickly respond to any incidents.

Develop a Comprehensive Fleet Safety Plan

Having a written, documented fleet safety plan tailored to summer conditions is crucial. Your plan should cover areas such as driver training, vehicle maintenance, safety policies, emergency protocols, and more.

Involve your drivers in the planning process to get their input and buy-in. They are the ones on the front lines and may have valuable insights to contribute. Regularly review and update your plan based on driver experiences, feedback, and their evolving needs.

Insurance Advantage

How to Keep Fleet Safety  During the Summer Months? | The Enterprise World

Did you know that improving your fleet’s safety record can lower your insurance premiums? Insurers look for:

  • Documented Maintenance Schedules: Prove you care for your vehicles.
  • Summer-Specific Training: A quick refresher for drivers on heat safety shows commitment.
  • Use of Safety Tech: Even simple in-cab video cabs and GPS systems may qualify you for discounts; ask your insurer!

In conclusion, summer safety is about being proactive. Many of these tips are low-cost or free, yet they make a big difference for small and medium-sized businesses.

By conducting regular vehicle inspections and maintenance, prioritizing driver safety and training, leveraging technology for monitoring and support, and developing a comprehensive safety plan, you can mitigate risks and protect your assets. 

As The Vestige Group puts it, a focus on fleet safety not only safeguards your drivers and vehicles but also contributes to the long-term success and sustainability of your business. Take the necessary steps this summer to ensure your fleet operates safely and efficiently. A little effort now can prevent costly breakdowns and accidents, and keep your business rolling all season long.

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