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Get your Drivers and Vehicles Prepared for Summer

  • By Ryan Skidmore

Vehicle Check Up Ask for advice on maintaining a vehicle through the warmer days of summer and the replies will range from professional to practical all the way to superstitious. However, at the core, there are basic principles. If nothing else, do these two things. 1) Use the proper oil for the weather and driving conditions. Oil comes in “Weights” that are designed for certain temperatures. Thinner oils flow easier and lubricated in winter time’s cold conditions, but may not be adequate in summer’s heat. Thicker oils provide protection against the summer heat. The higher mileage that comes with the business bump of summer and the potentially devastating cost of downtime makes using the proper oil a must. 2) Make sure all vehicles have a mixture of 50% coolant (also called anti-freeze) and 50% water in the radiator. While some regions do not experience frigid wintertime temperatures that would cause a vehicle’s coolant to freeze (hence the alternative name anti-freeze), most do receive hot summer temps making by-the-book upkeep of cooling systems 100% necessary.

Also, replacing wind shield wipers will keep drivers safe in rains, but making sure that vehicles have enough wiper fluid to clear dirt and debris from windshields will keep drivers safer in dry or dirty conditions. Lastly, roadside assistance could keep fleet drivers from being stranded somewhere in the heat of summer and keep them operating during this peak business season. A break in business momentum during mid-summer because of a broken down vehicle could have a significant impact on your business.

People Check Up Without people to drive them, fleet vehicles mean nothing for the bottom line. Summer days can be hot and long, stocking vehicles with extra food, water, and an electrolyte-rich drink, like Gatorade, keeps drivers hydrated on a normal day and keeps them safe when something goes wrong, such as an accident or a break down. Also, taking additional steps to prevent heat exhaustion will keep drivers from needing to take sick days. From taking time to cool off in an air-conditioned building to wearing lightly-colored, loose fitting clothing, a combination of the right preventions will always churn up the best outcome. Preventing sunburn by encouraging driver to wear sunscreen will also help keep heat exhaustion in check. Lastly, being extra aware of summer conditions keeps fleet drivers safe. Some regions are more prone to flooding than others, but fleet drivers will be far more exposed to dangers than consumer-grade drivers because of the high mileage requirements of their jobs. Insects are known to proliferate during the summer months. Fortunately, a little bug spray (among other precautions) can conquer this classic pestilence. Last of the lastly, all drivers should be familiar with local road and their conditions, particularly stretches of road that are sparse of civilization. If on the next town, sources like food/gas/water/phone/help, are 50 miles away a good day can degrade into a bad one right away (stranded on the side of the road). Of course, GPS tracking gives tremendous insight to the work life of a driver. Knowing what a driver goes through on a daily/weekly basis makes giving them what they need simple and keeping safe doable.

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