The old expression, it never rains except when it pours, seems to apply to snow now, too. While some areas of the country have gotten little to no snow, storm after storm have layered other parts of the US with feet of the white stuff. Travel delays and dangerous road conditions are the results.
In the trucking world, delays are not merely irritating—they mean lost business for carriers and lost income for drivers. Yet when officials close the highway, as happened throughout much of New England recently, there is little a professional driver can do.
Fleet management software can help keep vehicles moving along efficiently and it can also help managers get their drivers off the road when safety demands.
When extreme winter weather hits, each driver’s location is critical. Depending on where a truck is in relation to a developing storm, the right thing to do could be to hurry up and try to beat the weather, reroute the truck around the storm, or even stop and put up in a hotel. Real-time GPS tracking gives managers this crucial information. Even just being able to give the client an updated expected arrival time is important for driver safety, because it reduces the temptation to keep going in dangerous conditions just to keep the original schedule.
Some telematics providers are integrating weather information into their systems, using both crowd sourced information on road conditions and partnerships with meteorological agencies. Others will soon follow suit. In the future, automatic rerouting, or new route suggestions, may become standard.
In the meantime, managers can use the systems they have to find out where their drivers are and compare that information to weather maps themselves.
In the worst case scenario, if a driver does lose control in a snowstorm and crash, real-time GPS tracking could even save a life. If a fleet manager noticed a driver has stopped who should not have, he or she can use the communication feature to ask what happened and, if necessary, call the local authorities and direct them where to go.
In all cases, the objective is for the entire fleet and its manager to be able to act as a team in real-time. Fleet management software works to maximize the chance of timely deliveries and, more importantly, ensure that each driver will make it safely home to his or her family at the end of the trip.