In addition to finding ways to improve vehicle efficiency, an important part of being an effective fleet manager is encouraging safe driving practices among employees.
Of course, many of your employees may have a lot of experience in the industry and will be well-equipped to deal with whatever the streets may throw at them, but there is one aspect of road safety that even seasoned drivers struggle to deal with: Hyrdoplaning.
What is hydroplaning?
Otherwise known as aquaplaning in Europe and Asia, hydroplaning occurs when rainfall mixes with oil, dust and other residue on the road, creating a slick surface that tyres struggle to stick to, essentially forcing the vehicle to slide along a film of water between the tyre and asphalt. As you might imagine, this makes for a very dangerous environment, and if drivers are unprepared to deal with the conditions, it can easily lead to an accident.
So, we've learned the underlying causes behind hydroplaning, but how can your drivers minimise the risk of hydroplaning?
1. Avoid driving near puddles
As noted, water plays an integral role in hydroplaning. To further highlight the risk, a report from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) found that rutting (asphalt erosion typically caused by heavy trucks and/or heavy traffic) on local streets and highways could lead to water accumulating on the surface of the road, which may contribute to the rate of accidents.
Consequently, puddles and other areas of pooled water should be avoided where possible to minimise the risk of losing vehicular control.
2. Slow down
In New Zealand, the most common type of hydroplaning is dynamic hydroplaning, which typically occurs when vehicles are moving at speeds of 80 kilometres per hour or faster, according to NZTA. The key point to takeaway from this is to encourage your drivers to slow down, particularly in the 15 minutes or so that follow light rainfall.
3. Maintain good tyres
Your tyres are the only four points of contact between the vehicle and the road, so you'll want to ensure they're always in good condition. This might include paying for high quality rubber, maintaining them at the recommended air pressure and keeping a close eye on tread depth.
Safety and efficiency are the cornerstone of managing a productive fleet. While business fuel cards can help you cut costs at the petrol pump, no expenses should be spared when it comes to keeping your drivers safe on the road.