As another winter holiday season quickly approaches, fleet risk managers and their drivers must be proactive when it comes to maintaining driver safety.

From bad weather and slippery road conditions to an increase in holiday traffic and theft – it’s critical for commercial drivers to prioritize the safety of themselves, those they share the road with and the cargo that they are transporting to ensure they make it to their destination safely.

Below, we share a few important winter driving safety training topics that risk and safety managers should consider assigning to their drivers before they hit the road this holiday season.

Combatting Bad Weather and Road Conditions

24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, and 15% happen during snowfall or sleet.

Snow and ice reduce pavement friction and vehicle maneuverability. This causes slower speeds, reduced roadway capacity and limited visibility. Dangerous road conditions also cause less traction between tires and the road, slower braking and adverse conditions when it comes to climbing steep hills.

Example Training Course: Winter Driving

Reduced visibility, changing road conditions and vehicle breakdowns all make winter driving a challenge. In this lesson, drivers will look at how they can prepare themselves and their vehicles for winter driving. They will also discover how to deal with emergencies associated with winter driving.

After viewing this lesson, the driver will learn:

  • How to prepare for winter driving
  • How to install tire chains
  • How to drive in winter conditions
  • How to know when it’s time to stop and find a safe place to park
  • How to deal with skids and poor traction

Driving Defensively in Holiday Traffic

The holiday season brings with it an increase in road traffic across the entire nation. According to PwC’s annual Holiday Outlook, 47% of those surveyed said they would travel for the holidays this year. This is a massive increase from the estimated 33% hitting the road before the pandemic.

With this in mind, drivers must anticipate that more cars out on the road equates to an increase in dangerous driving, from distracted and intoxicated driving to speeding and other aggressive behaviors. They must also be mindful of expected delays due to this increase in traffic.

Example Training Course: Space Management

Managing the space around a driver’s vehicle is critical to maintaining a space cushion. Drivers in this lesson will learn how to manage the space around the vehicle in a variety of situations.

In this lesson, the driver will learn:

  • Defining the space cushion
  • Adjusting to traffic
  • Changing lanes and merging turns, both left and right
  • Intersections and blind spots

Example Training Course: Essential Planning

Anytime drivers get behind the wheel of a large vehicle, they need to have a plan. They need to know where they are going, how they are going to get there and if they have enough fuel and time to do so.

In this lesson, the driver will learn:

  • What is essential planning
  • Trip planning
  • Vehicle inspections and injury prevention
  • Driving strategies
  • Parking lots and customer locations

Securing Cargo

In recent years, there has been a rise in cargo theft during the Thanksgiving holiday. Theft reports tend to increase from the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving to the Monday after, mainly targeting vehicles transporting electronics, food & beverage and household goods. This increase in theft costs the trucking industry millions each year.

Example Training Course: Handling and Documenting Cargo

This unit instructs on the basic theory of cargo weight distribution, cargo securement on the vehicle, cargo covering and techniques for safe and efficient loading/unloading. The lesson will teach driver-trainees basic cargo security/cargo theft prevention procedures. It will also instruct driver-trainees on the basic information regarding the proper handling and documentation of HM cargo.

Combat Winter Fleet Crashes With Driver Safety Training & Resources

Drivers need to remain knowledgeable, attentive and vigilant throughout the colder months, as these are only a few of the many dangers company drivers face during the winter holidays.

Looking for strategies, tips and resources for mitigating driving risks across your fleet? Download our Winter Driving Safety Tips & Resources and gain access to our free winter driving training plan.