As I was headed to work down a steep mountain road one morning, with several cars and trucks behind me, the fog was so thick I could barely see the headlights of oncoming cars. Suddenly, a vehicle with headlights OFF appeared out of nowhere, like a ghost, about 20 feet in front of me. If that car had been passing, or swerving, or even slightly over the centerline, we might have crashed, and created a terrible pileup, too! Thank goodness that didn’t happen, but it got me to thinking… ” – GPS Trackit Staffer
With winter beginning to show its cold face, rain storms, blizzards, fog, icy roads, and hard winds are well on their way.
Fleet drivers face a variety of obstacles on the road every work day. With unpredictable drivers, road conditions, and weather changes, safe driving practices are essential.
An effective way to stay safe on the road is to utilize the head and rear lights of a vehicle (many fleet managers require drivers to use vehicle headlights at all operational hours).
Headlights have many more uses than simply helping drivers see the road at nighttime. Headlight usage is essential to defensive driving during poor weather.
Because sight can be impaired by changes in weather conditions, turning on headlights can prevent terrible – sometimes fatal – accidents, and even save lives. Head and rear lights are most critical during:
- Blizzard conditions
- Dust and wind storms
- Hail storms
- Heavy fog
- Ice storms
- Rain, snow and sleet
Multi-Car Crashes are often Caused by Poor Visibility
In Carroll County, Virginia this past March 2013, a terrifying ninety-five car crash pile up shut down the highway for hours, due to heavy fog. There were 25 injuries, and 3 deaths.
In fog, it is extremely important to turn on low beam headlights. Without the low beams, it can be incredibly difficult, or almost impossible, to be seen and see other vehicles.
Another multiple vehicle accident in March 2013, in Denver, Colorado, involved 25 vehicles that were driving during blizzard conditions.
There were 3 injuries, but fortunately no fatalities. General safe driving measures are necessary in harsh weather, but head and rear lights will aid in navigating a vehicle on the road through a storm.
Rain is within the top 10 causes of vehicle accidents in the U.S. Thousands of crashes occur every year due to rainy weather.
By Law, Headlights must be Engaged when Visibility is Lessened.
“Some states, like California, New Jersey, and New York require the use of windshield wipers in addition to headlight usage during harsh weather.” -DMV.org
To learn more about laws on headlights visit DMV.org
Here are some extra safety tips from Alphonso Lewis, the 2011–2012 America’s Road Team Captain for the American Trucking Associations.
You must be ready for whatever you may encounter. Yes, this is common sense. But how many of us jump in our vehicle when the weather looks nice and end up in a storm? I suggest:
- Proper clothing (loose layers of clothing, extra gloves, rain gear)
- A flashlight in the glove box
- A blanket, food and water
- A bag of sand or salt and extra windshield washer fluid
- A windshield scraper
- Jumper cables
- Tire chains or traction mats
- Have at least a half tank of gas at all times during the winter”
GPS Trackit’s fleet management solutions now include a suite of safety-boosting features, including real-time alerts that notify fleet managers, dispatchers and even drivers when risky driving behaviors occur. Alerts can be set for seat-belt usage, rapid acceleration, hard turns, hard braking, and collisions. Find out more or call a GPS Trackit Fleet Advisor at 866-320-5810 to get started .