Everyone knows operating tractor-trailers during the winter comes with some big risks. But did you know that, on average 467 fatalities are associated with icy driving conditions annually, or that 23% of all vehicle crashes every year – some 1.3 million – are caused in part by inclement weather, such as rain, sleet, snow, fog, and wind? (Those weather-related findings are courtesy Federal Highway Administration research, by the way).

On top of that, cold weather can cause diesel fuel to thicken into “gel” or get waterlogged, potentially damaging a truck’s fuel system and engine. Colder temperatures also affect fuel economy, too, by increasing tire rolling resistance and reducing aerodynamic efficiency, to name just two impacts.

Michael Spence, senior VP of fleet services at Fleet Advantage, recently penned a white paper delving into how winter weather can impact commercial truck operations.

“Many transportation routes run north and south,” he explained. “This means that trucks originating in the south also need to winterize their fuel since they may be traveling up north. Many times, those drivers aren’t thinking of how the weather can affect them since they’re starting out in a warmer climate.”

To Spence’s mind, those types of conversations ultimately come back to the kinds of data fleets record and analyze.

“Whether it’s having data to identify your fuel costs and fuel efficiency, or data on what type of weather you will be experiencing on your route, it’s important for fleets today to have access to the right business intelligence,” he stressed. “That way, they can make the right decisions to keep their drivers safe and productive, while also maximizing cost efficiencies for the entire fleet.”

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http://news.trucker.com/equipment/winter-maintenance-safety-tips-truckers