It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but Christmas is also one of the very busiest times for fleet businesses, presenting its own unique challenges and heightened responsibilities.
The holiday season brings not only joy and celebration but also a surge in travel, amidst a flurry of deliveries, making it a crucial time for fleet managers to implement proactive safety strategies.
In light of these demands, we recognise the importance of effective fleet management over Christmas, and we express our gratitude for the commitment of these drivers during the holidays and beyond.
In this article, we aim to provide our top 6 safety tips and insights for fleet managers to navigate the complexities of the holiday season successfully.
1. Plan your route carefully
Driving through the holiday season is twice the challenge as driving on a regular day. Drivers are expected to meet deadlines so any roadblock can set them back a couple of hours from their original schedule.
Because holiday driving is unpredictable, fleet managers need to anticipate any obstruction that could delay their deliveries.
One way to ensure that your drivers are on schedule is to check which routes tend to get extremely busy and find another way to get to your destination faster, and it’s certainly not the easiest task.
Fortunately, the integration of modern GPS-enabled telematics systems, proves invaluable in helping drivers and fleet managers navigate efficiently, steering clear of extended travel times caused by adverse weather, accidents, or unexpected road closures.
2. Put more stringent anti-theft measures in place
Christmas is not only a bustling period for fleets; it also proves to be a hectic time for those with ill intentions towards them. As the season of giving involves a heightened movement of consumer goods compared to any other time of the year, it becomes crucial to implement precautions against potential thieves in festive fleet management.
That can mean training drivers to be mindful about leaving their trailers unattended and parking in safe, pre-approved overnight areas (ideally where there are gates, locks and security systems). However, it could also mean using the telematics system mentioned above to set up a geofencing area that will alert your HQ when a vehicle leaves a designated area.
Despite meticulous planning, unforeseen emergencies can occur on the road. Fleet managers should establish clear and effective emergency response protocols that drivers can follow in the event of accidents, breakdowns, or adverse weather conditions. Ensure all fleet vehicles are equipped with emergency kits, including first aid supplies, tools, and communication devices. Drivers should be well-trained on proper emergency procedures to handle unexpected situations.
Consider sending out a reminder to your drivers regarding the roadside emergency support, police numbers and other emergency numbers. A handy tip is to advise drivers to have the roadside emergency contact details close at hand. Why not send your drivers the contact information to their mobile devices (i.e. via WhatsApp rather than email) so they can save it immediately on their mobile devices.
By having robust response plans in place, fleet managers can minimise the impact of emergencies, protect drivers, and swiftly resolve issues to maintain operational continuity.
3. Check your vehicle
Are your vehicles ready for the long drive? Before your drivers leave, make sure to have them check the fuel, oil, tire pressure and wiper fluids. Inspect tires and gauges to ensure that the truck is in tip-top shape.
You don’t need a printed checklist to do all this. If you have fleet management software, you can easily track the check-ups and repairs made to your vehicle within the app. Performing vehicle maintenance before a long trip helps prevent unwanted stopovers that can delay your schedule. It also helps prevent accidents from busted tires and malfunctioning vehicle parts.
Another of our crucial fleet management tips for the holidays is therefore to schedule more maintenance checks and to get feedback from your drivers at the end of each shift. This is particularly important if drivers feel an incident might have occurred that could cause a problem – or if they just feel that something was a little off with the vehicle during their journey.
4. Install dash cams
There is no doubt that dashcams can contribute to safer driving habits. That’s certainly something you want to feel the benefit of during the busy festive season. A cab-facing camera will make your drivers more conscious of their behaviour in the cab, while road-facing ones will capture things like their road positioning and driving aggressiveness.
Additionally, it will help them to feel secure that if an accident happens which isn’t their fault, they won’t be blamed for it. It may seem a small thing, but installing dash cams is one of our best tips for managing a fleet effectively during Christmas.
5. Pack a lot of patience and rest
Driving alongside other motorists is an exercise in patience, especially during the holiday rush. Heavy traffic can be frustrating, but don’t let it get in the way of safe driving. Tailgating, speeding, and changing lanes can lead to crashes and other accidents. Always travel at a safe speed.
Remember that some drivers may not have been behind the wheel for several weeks, potentially leaving them with rusty skills. Whenever the temptation to cut another vehicle off arises, drivers need a soft nudge that will put their focus back on safe driving. A fleet management system can detect distracted driving behaviour. With the right hardware installed, drivers will receive an audio alert that will help them correct their behaviour.
Additionally, drivers need to make sure that they are well-rested before driving and take at least a 15-minute break for every two hours of driving (more frequently if they feel tired).
Avoiding distractions while driving is also important. The safest option is for drivers to turn off their phones or place it out of reach.
6. Get a strategic planning edge
The last of our tips for effective fleet management over Christmas is to get as much data about your vehicles as possible and use it to develop a strategic safety management plan – one that can adapt long after the holidays have gone.
Our fleet management solution is perfect for this, allowing you to get all of the efficiencies information you need across categories like fuel analysis, invoicing, service schedules, delivery reports and even your overall fleet composition.
Helping you through the festive season
So those are our 6 top fleet management tips for the holidays. Which ones are you following already – and which will you be considering in the coming weeks? Tell us on X (previously Twitter) or let us know over on our Facebook page.
To learn more about anything we’ve mentioned above, call us on 0860 12 24 36 or email email@example.com