The tool you need to keep equipment & teams moving in ice or snow
by Erin Cave
November 20, 2019

Winter is coming, but construction work stops for no season. While there is only so much construction professionals can do to prepare for frozen ground and rising fuel costs, fleet managers can start planning to keep equipment and teams ready before the first snowfall. 

With increased exposure to the elements, it is important for fleet managers to be on top of vehicle health, the safety of drivers and the location of all their assets. Advanced fleet management software can help construction companies of all sizes keep fleets in check, safeguard teams and improve the bottom line during winter.  

Breakdowns 

In March 2018, the nor’easter Winter Storm Riley was initially only forecasted to be a rain event. Then heavy, wet snow and powerful winds (50 to 70 mph) hit several states along the East Coast. Devastation spread to homes just as quickly as the forecast changed. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 230,000 families in New Jersey lost power within the first day of the storm.

Needless to say, it is best to be more than prepared and ready for anything—especially for fleet managers with jobs to fill and drivers to keep safe. And one way fleet managers can rest easier when winter weather approaches is with an updated understanding of fleet maintenance levels. 

Beyond manual checks to brakes, the battery and tires, advanced fleet management software equipped with GPS tracking can monitor fuel usage and mileage, indicating how long a vehicle has been in service and alerting fleet
managers when maintenance is needed
or upcoming. 

Then, using data as a guide, managers can quickly make a call on the health and safety of a vehicle. This not only helps boost equipment productivity, but also prevents future failures.

Safe Driving 

It is also essential to educate truck drivers ahead of winter, when road conditions worsen. According to the FMCSA, speeding is a major factor in many trucking accidents, and with winter weather imminent, drivers may make reckless decisions if safe driving is not a core company priority. 

Fleet management software not only tracks vehicle health and maintenance, but also harsh braking and acceleration, speeding versus the posted speed limit, and seat belt utilization within vehicles. This data can be used to rate and track individual driving habits and empower fleet managers with the information to coach their employees through specific risky driving behavior, making drivers more adept at maneuvering dangerous roads. 

Visibility 

The modern fleet manager handles vehicle logistics and dispatches jobs to mobile teams. However, for managers in the construction industry, these requirements take on a new meaning in winter. Even when ice and snow line the streets, construction work continues. As such, construction workers on the go rely on their fleet manager to play the role of both day-to-day manager and meteorologist. 

This is where fleet management software’s GPS tracking can make a difference by providing near real-time location data. In the case of a winter storm, GPS tracking allows fleet managers to make quick decisions about alternative routes and alert drivers of incoming weather conditions.  

Response & Recovery  

Fleet management software is also helping the recovery efforts of first responders and relief organizations after a storm. Construction companies can be contracted for recovery and restoration efforts after a winter storm and must work in tandem with other organizations to coordinate resources, repair downed infrastructure and help members of the community.

This work, in large part, requires location data. Understanding the real location of vehicles and trucks and a specific dispatch location is critically important when private businesses, local- and federal-level agencies work together.  

Knowing that a vehicle or truck has reached its recovery effort location is necessary—sometimes bad actors can take advantage of vulnerable instances and accuse responders of not being on the scene. Fleet management software’s GPS tracking can exonerate drivers and businesses through location and time history, underpinning the exchange of vital data between outside service providers and agencies to aid in the recovery efforts within a community.