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How to Prepare Your Commercial Truck Fleet for the Winter

Winter can be tough on a truck business. It can be tough on drivers, fleet owners and the trucks themselves. 

Even if your drivers are careful and attentive, the inclement weather can spell disaster. Your trucks may need engine rebuilds or tire replacement, in which case fleet owners need to be financially prepared. And the trucks themselves need to be routinely inspected and maintained throughout the winter to ensure they are operating smoothly and efficiently. 

To avoid breakdowns, accidents and cash flow issues, follow these three easy tips.  

Ensure Drivers Follow These Key Safety Steps

A study published a few years ago found that, of the roughly 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States, nearly half a million involved large trucks and buses – that’s around 8%. It might seem like a small figure until you consider that large trucks account for just 4% of all registered vehicles. 

These stats underscore the continuing importance of vehicle safety, especially in the winter when roads are icy and slick and visibility is diminished. If you run a truck fleet, it is best practice to put clear, comprehensive safety policies in place. For your drivers’ safety and the safety of others on the road, include the following: 

  • Make seatbelts absolutely mandatory.
  • Ensure drivers give at least 20-feet additional distance for safe stopping.
  • Require drivers to carry an emergency kit that includes water and non-perishable food items.
  • Be mindful of common warning signs on the dashboard, and report maintenance issues immediately.
  • Ensure every driver understands proper braking protocol for winter weather conditions.

These are a few of the basic safety steps. Build out your personal safety policy with advice from the Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Safety Manual.

Explore Financing Solutions for Major Repairs

Accidents happen. Breakdowns happen. Unforeseeable repairs happen. And they happen with unusual frequency in the winter. 

To make sure your commercial fleet doesn’t get mired in costly repair fees, be proactive and contact a commercial equipment financing company. Lending partners like Capital Hands offer turnkey financing solutions, leveraging great relationships with several lenders to get you the best deals on loans for major repairs. They also streamline the process, eliminating the need for exhausting piles of paperwork and long wait times for approval. 

Winter driving can be risky – but applying for commercial vehicle financing doesn’t have to be.  

Regularly Inspect Your Fleet for These Common Issues 

Regular, thorough fleet maintenance is the single most effective safety net a trucking company has. If maintenance issues are left to persist and worsen, they can become exponentially more costly. To prepare for winter’s impact on your trucking operations, create a maintenance checklist and frequently refer to it.

Check the belts, hoses and radiator for failures. Track your tire inflation against the temperature (every 10-degree Fahrenheit change in temperature affects tire pressure by roughly two psi). Regularly check the battery, which can inordinately drain in cold weather. Periodically check all fluids. Ensure that windshield wipers are working effectively, free of streaking. And stay on top of draining your fuel water separator. Additionally, you can consult this winter maintenance checklist for commercial trucks, which touches on a few more common issues. 

With robust safety policies, regular fleet maintenance and the help of a great commercial equipment financing company, your commercial truck fleet will thrive this winter. No matter what the winter throws at you!