As fall is in fulls wing, we thought we would provide tips to fleet drivers on how to reduce collision risk during autumn. Rain and fog are commonplace during these chilly months, and although snow is typically considered more dangerous, there is something to be said of the effect rain and fog have on the road, vehicles and driver behaviour.
1) Need Wipers? Need Headlights!
Ever been out driving when it’s foggy? And there’s just enough so that a thin layer of condensation builds up on your windshield, forcing you to need to turn on the wiper blades? Well if you need your wiper blades, then you need your headlights. The moment your visibility is compromised, then the visibility of your fellow drivers is also compromised and you need to compensate for that by making your own vehicle stand out amongst the (literal) fog. Make sure to turn on your headlights every time you need your wipers, but keep this key rule in mind: Always Headlights, Never Brights. Low-beam headlights are ideal for fog and rain, as the light will not reflect off the water droplets in the air and blind yourself or oncoming drivers.
The first 15 minutes of a rainfall are the most crucial. During this time, many drivers may not immediately begin making the necessary safety adjustments. This could be due to absent-mindedness, slow reaction time or simple lack of knowledge regarding the proper procedure. Of course, as a fleet driver you should always be aware of the other vehicles on the road, but during the first 15 minutes, we recommend keeping an extra eye open for the drivers around you that aren’t as prepared for the shift in road conditions. Additionally, the first 15 minutes of a rainfall is when vehicles are at the highest risk of hydroplaning. As the first centimeters of water hit the road, all the oil (and the debris it carries) rises to the top. Since oil and water don’t mix, the oil from the road simply rests on top of the water until it is eventually washed away. It is paramount that drivers slow down and drive with more care during these first minutes of rainfall so as to avoid hydroplaning.
3) Halt The Brakes
Typically your brakes are the first line of defense when something goes wrong on the road. Whether its an animal unexpectedly jumping into the middle of the road or merging from freeway onto an off-ramp, the brakes are the first option to slow down the vehicle in the face of dynamic road conditions. This is where the mindset of a fleet driver needs to change during heavy fog or rain. Above we talked about how water mixed with oil can have dire consequences on the traction a tire has with the surface of the road. But rainwater and oil also have a negative effect on brake pads and rotors. The water/oil mixture can get onto the rotor and reduce the amount of initial friction when the brake is applied. This means your brakes won’t be as effective as normal and could cause a collision. To compensate for this, avoid braking when going through puddles, simply let off the gas or gear down to slow the vehicle. After clearing the puddle, apply the break gradually to dry the brake pad/rotor of any leftover liquid. This method will ensure that your brakes will be ready for use if or when they are expressly needed.
Titan GPS can help slow down your fleet protect itself in the rain and fog. Book A Free Demo to learn how.