The autumn colors are here, and cooler temperatures are setting in. Soon, all those leaves on the trees will fall to the ground and rains will leave them wet, the cold will affect road conditions, and shorter daylight hours will affect visibility. Being aware of fall hazards can help your drivers—and you—be safer.
Whether you have one delivery vehicle, manage a fleet of work trucks, or transport equipment from one site to another, driving during this time of year poses a new set of risks for your drivers. Wet leaves are slippery, but even dry leaves are hazardous. They can conceal objects, markings, and road boundaries. Drivers should always be on the lookout for children playing in leaf piles near city streets—sometimes even on the roads themselves. The prospect of hitting a child is frightening, and should make any driver think twice about what else they can't see under fallen leaves, like:
Every fall, some drivers forget that road surfaces on bridges are colder than the rest of the road. They're surprised when they lose control on a bridge where a rapid change in surface temperatures can create a short stretch of frost or black ice. Remind drivers to slow down and use caution.
Another hazard in fall is an increased likelihood of deer in the road. Deer are in the throes of mating season in fall, and they’re more active during sunrise and sunset. Drivers need to stay alert, slow down, and allow room in case you—or the car in front of you—need to brake hard to avoid a deer. Make sure not to swerve, as it could send you into a guardrail, tree or oncoming vehicle.
While on delivery runs, also keep in mind there could be slower drivers, distracted drivers, or those who make unpredictable stops because of the fall colors. Allow for plenty of distance to stop, and don’t be one of the distracted leaf admirers while behind the wheel.
You can help mitigate the risks by holding safety meetings and explaining to drivers that when navigating leaf-covered roads, they should remember to:
One of the key things to keep in mind with shorter daylight hours is visibility. Keep the windshield clean and free from smears which obscure vision more when the sun is lower in the sky. Also, use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see you.
Finally, be sure your vehicles are properly maintained. Ensure your tires, brakes, wipers, and heater/defroster are in good working order.
Also, check the tire pressure on a regular basis. Tires can lose 1–2 pounds of pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop. Properly inflated tires improve control, raise fuel efficiency, and extend tire life.
Being aware of road hazards—no matter the season—can help drivers avoid costly accidents. But reducing risks can’t completely prevent accidents or the losses involved. That’s when having appropriate insurance coverage can help.
If an accident happens, commercial auto insurance coverage can help protect your business, covering any vehicles you own, rent, or lease. It also provides protection if you or your employees drive their own vehicles for business purposes or drive company cars for business and personal purposes. Coverages can include:
Whether you need standard coverages like liability, collision, and comprehensive, or if you need something extra, we’ll work with you to help determine the commercial auto coverage that’s best suited to your business. Our understanding of the risks you face in the horticultural and floral industries can help give you peace of mind, letting you focus on growing your business.