3 Advantages of Using Fleet GPS Tracking This Winter
Winter weather is notorious for impeding road travel, especially for fleets that travel throughout the season. In addition to colder working temperatures, fleet managers and truck drivers must also contend with:
- Road dangers: Snow, ice and wind worsen travel conditions, leaving roadways slick and dangerous. Poor road conditions pose a serious threat to drivers, including those your fleet shares the road with. This can result in more delays, possible accidents and frequent rerouting.
- Route delays: Route delays are nearly inevitable in parts of the country that receive heavy snowfall. As road conditions worsen, drivers move more slowly, causing congestion and backups. Inclement conditions may require your drivers to pull over until roads are cleared, and some paths may become entirely impassable. When these costly delays happen, fleet managers have to figure out how to reroute drivers while ensuring deliveries make it to their destinations on time to minimize customer dissatisfaction.
- Truck damage: Winter travel is rough on a vehicle. Your fleet will likely experience more wear and tear concerning tires and brakes, as well as any damage incurred from road accidents.
- Fuel costs: Winter conditions mean an increase in fuel consumption for most vehicles because of more frequent braking and the near-constant fluctuations of increasing and decreasing speed. Cold temperatures also cause the air to be denser, leading to vehicle drag, and it takes longer for trucks to reach the optimal fuel-efficient temperature. After several months of winter driving, increased fuel consumption costs add up.
3 Benefits of Winter Fleet GPS Tracking
Fortunately, fleet managers have several options available to ease the burden of winter travel, including the use of GPS tracking. Here's how fleet tracking can benefit your operations, especially during the winter months:
1. Encourage Safer Driving
GPS tracking software gives you the information you need to empower your drivers with smarter road practices to keep them, the fleet and the product safe from winter-related damage.
GPS tracking keeps you informed about each truck's status, including its location, arrival and departure notices, unauthorized vehicle use and more. Use this information to minimize dangerous, fuel-wasting activities, like unnecessary idle time or excessive braking and speeding. Should you lose contact with a driver, you can also track the truck to make sure no accidents occurred. Monitor fuel consumption and travel patterns — like unexpected stops and rerouting — to keep costs low and protect vehicles from accidental damage that could occur on inclement roads.
When used in tandem with fleet management software, you can record all this information and use it to compile profiles for next year's pre-winter fleet plans, including updated driver training and route coordination.
2. Get Maintenance Alerts
Winter weather demands your fleet be in prime operating condition, including tires, brakes and heating. Keep trucks up to date on maintenance with maintenance and fault alerts sent directly to your computer or mobile device. The more prepared you are, the safer your drivers will be, and the more money you can save by minimizing delays.
By monitoring your fleet's truck maintenance, you can spot possible concerns before they turn into safety hazards or travel delays during winter transit. Track certain warning signs, like changes in fuel consumption or aging tires, and set up automatic vehicle servicing reminders for you and your drivers.
3. Coordinate Routes
GPS tracking lets you see how much time a vehicle has spent at a specific location with satellite views and color-coded traffic conditions. Get insights about the driver's speed, the direction they're traveling in, the vehicle's status and more, which you can then use to keep your customer informed about the arrival status. Fleet dispatchers can also use this information to reroute your drivers to safer or less congested roads, which cuts down on costly delays and minimizes unexpected wear and tear on vehicles.
How to Get Your Fleet Ready for Winter
While GPS tracking is an integral part of fleet management, there are other steps you can take to protect your drivers and your bottom line during the winter season.
Start Planning Now
One of the most important tips for winter fleet preparation is planning and implementing changes before the season arrives. This includes using data from previous years to learn more about your scheduled routes, driver habits and possible concerns to create new plans for the upcoming year.
This means refreshing your drivers with new or supplemental training and reoptimizing fleet routes to minimize hazards and delays:
- Refresh driver training: Introduce new or supplemental training programs to your drivers based on previous years' winter driving data, including safety protocols and guidelines, instructions for rerouting and tips for minimizing fuel consumption and hazardous driving. If this is your first year utilizing GPS fleet tracking, include relevant information in your pre-season briefing.
- Reoptimize fleet routes: Use information from last year's reports and available reports from your state's Department of Transportation to mark road closures and congestion trends before planning your winter routes. Areas you may want to include might be those with steep inclines or narrow roadways or locations where large trucks may have difficulty accelerating.
Schedule Pre-Winter Inspections and Repairs
Schedule pre-winter inspections and repairs for all trucks in your fleet and update outdated or underperforming parts. Pay close attention to the following critical areas:
- Brake pads
- Head, tail and brake lights
- Coolant and heater levels
- Winter tires
- Oil and engine lubrication
- Steering, brake and battery fluids
- Windshield wiper operation and fluid level
- Belt and spark plug condition
- Cab and window insulation
Winter tune-ups should also include ongoing oil changes and tire inspections to maintain performance through the season.
Invest in Fleet Management Software
Investing in a GPS tracking system and fleet management software now will save you time, money and frustration when it's time for winter travel. Track Your Truck offers hardwired and plug-in live GPS fleet tracking options to help you learn more about your drivers and their routes. Use Track Your Truck fleet management software to control fuel waste, monitor and correct unsafe driving habits, plan smarter routes, inspect driver IDs and compile helpful, detailed reports about each truck's activity.
Get GPS Tracking for Your Fleet Today
Track Your Truck fleet management software and GPS tracking devices use cellular technology to get you the information you need when you need it. Get notifications on your smartphone or computer and export reports for your records. Get data about fleet performance and status, including speeds, truck location, time traveled and real-time traffic alerts.
All Track Your Truck equipment is backed by individualized customer support to provide tips for using your new GPS tracking features and help you customize your services. Learn more about Track Your Truck GPS tracking and request a demo or free quote to start planning your winter transit today.