Winter Driving Risks: Prepare for Inclement Weather and Difficult Conditions
As fall turns into winter, we lose daylight, and the weather creates challenging road conditions: one of the biggest winter risk and safety concerns.
Review the following quick risk management best practices to support safer winter driving for yourself and your employees:
- Give yourself adequate time to reach your destination. Allow for an extra 10–15 minutes in your trip for poor weather and road conditions.
- Leave plenty of space for other vehicles. Increase your following distance to compensate for reduced reaction times and longer braking distances.
- Increase your visibility to others. Use your headlights to assure your vehicle is visible to other drivers.
- Keep your vehicle properly maintained. Make sure that vehicle components such as the battery, tires, brakes, lights, wipers, and fluid levels are in adequate condition before starting to drive.
- Keep emergency supplies in your vehicle at all times. Make sure that your vehicle contains extra blankets, tire chains, emergency signals or flares.
- Stay with your vehicle. If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.
- No Cruising. Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
- Know who to contact in the event of an accident or breakdown.
- Avoid distractions. Keep your phone and other distractions out of reach while driving in winter conditions. Driving on winter roads is hard enough, maintain your focus on the road.
- Are cameras what you need? The use of front and/or rear facing cameras will be a great aid in monitoring your drivers and accident investigation.
- Maintain Incident Reports. Proper documentation and incident tracking is a key component to fleet safety.
- Activate fleet safety risk management programs. Complete monthly training exercises with your drivers to ensure that safe winter driving is top of mind.
For further resources on this and other winter-related matters check out the OSHA Winter Weather Hazards/Precautions Page.
Make sure you’re proactive with your winter weather preparations.
This post was originally published in November 2019; updated November 2023.