Second Midwest snowstorm promises problems for fleets

Less than a week ago, the Midwest was slammed with a storm that left more than a foot of snow in some areas, closed highways, and caused traffic accidents and holdups in many states. This week, residents and companies are bracing once more for a winter storm that is also anticipated to have a profound impact on the roads. 

Conditions could hinder deliveries
Many expect the coming snow to have a significant impact on roads across the country. Bloomberg reported blizzard and winter storm warnings are in effect in areas of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. This means a great deal of highways and local roads could be closed by local authorities, rendered impassable due to accidents or blocked by drifting snow. 

However, snow isn't the only concern for those on the road. Whiteout conditions could make it impossible for drivers to see, high winds could make it difficult to remain in control of vehicles and icy conditions could make roads extremely slippery and dangerous for those who are traveling. 

The Associated Press reported Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has advised drivers to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary; however, those with jobs that require them to be on the road frequently may have no choice but to travel in the storm. There are ways they can stay safe and better track their routes and ensure safety during winter storms. 

Route planning software can boost efficiency, safety
Many commercial carriers and private fleets may find they can increase the efficiency of their drivers and ensure they make their deliveries on time, in spite of the storm, with the help of routing software. Such software can be used to route drivers on known roads that might be best to take during inclement weather, avoiding secondary roads where vehicles could be more at risk for lengthy delays. 

While route software certainly plays a role, it isn't the only precautionary measure fleet managers should take to minimize business risk from bad weather. Through the year, management teams should employ the use of fleet maintenance software, which will help them ensure their vehicles are running smoothly and prepared for cold or icy conditions to keep drivers safe on the road. Drivers need well-maintained vehicles, winter-grade fluids, appropriate tires and good brakes, as slippery conditions continue to plague the Midwest and make conditions difficult for traveling.