Preparing for severe weather and fuel shortages
A hurricane barrels up the East Coast, causing floods and closed roads across multiple states. A fuel pipeline bursts, triggering a severe gas shortage across the Southeastern United States. A blizzard blankets the upper Midwest, making highway driving treacherous.
These types of events have an especially deep impact on businesses that operate a fleet of vehicles. In these situations, business owners and fleet managers are responsible for keeping their employees and vehicles safe and operating as smoothly as possible.
The following strategies can help you prepare for the unexpected and efficiently manage challenging situations.
Expect the unexpected:Writing a fleet action plan
Being prepared is the best plan when it comes to circumstances out of your control. The first step is writing a comprehensive action plan in case of severe weather or a fuel shortage. Present the plan to your fleet, adjust, and distribute the plan across your company. When disaster strikes, everyone is on the same page and knows what to do.
A fleet action plan should include:
- Driver responsibilities
- Who should report to their supervisor and when
- Contact information for key people across the company
- Training resources for employees
It’s smart to have a copy of the fleet action plan in every vehicle and the office. That way, drivers confronted with sudden challenges on the road have access to the information they need.
Other key steps to take to always be prepared:
- Stock vehicles with snacks, blankets, first aid kits, and flashlights
- Keep vehicles clean to increase visibility in inclement, severe weather
- Require drivers to fill up their tanks when they reach the halfway mark, preventing them from becoming stranded
- Provide a cell phone charger for each vehicle
- Download apps that show real-time fuel prices and availability, like the WEX Connect app
Staying safe during severe weather
When weather hits, circumstances are out of your control. But there are things you can do to keep your fleet moving safely.
When you know that weather is coming, remind drivers to review the fleet action plan and make sure their vehicles are stocked and their tanks are filled. As you communicate with your fleet during inclement weather, it’s a chance to remind them that safety comes first. The following guidelines are valuable for every fleet.
- Take it slow on the road. Employees may feel pressure to make deliveries on time and stay on track. As a business owner or fleet manager, you have the power to relieve that pressure and make sure they put their safety first.
- Leave space between vehicles. It’s simple, but extra space between vehicles can be the difference between braking safely and hitting another vehicle.
- Look out for hazards on the road. Bad weather can cause branches, power lines, and other debris to fall into the road. Water in the road can also cause dangerous driving conditions.
- Stay put or pull over. Sometimes, the best decision is to not drive at all. Giving your employees ownership of that decision allows them to stay as safe as possible on the road.
Stay connected during fuel shortages
When a fuel shortage affects your area, there can be a general panic among consumers and businesses alike. The right information allows you to keep your fleet moving and your company healthy during a shortage.
General news outlets can give you good, basic information about events. However, when you want specifics around fuel pricing and availability, you need a more specialized source for information.
If your business uses a fleet card, you will receive the most crucial information through your card provider. Companies like WEX provide fleets with updated data on fuel availability and pricing via dedicated websites and Twitter updates. The WEX Connect app tells you which stations are open and gives you real-time fuel prices.
Get real-time fuel prices in every situation
Whether your drivers are facing a natural disaster, a fuel shortage, or just a normal day on the road, knowing the best local fuel price is powerful information. With the WEX Connect mobile app, drivers can see real-time fuel prices to make smarter choices.
Get real-time fuel prices in every situation Whether your drivers are facing a natural disaster, a fuel shortage, or just a normal day on the road, knowing the best local fuel price is powerful information. With the WEX Connect mobile app, drivers can see real-time fuel prices to make smarter choices. In shortage and storm situations, drivers have real-time visibility into which stations are open for business. WEX Connect can show stations by fuel type, including diesel, E85, regular and CNG.
Stay calm, stay safe, keep moving
You want to keep your employees safe on the road and your business running efficiently. These goals come into sharp focus when a natural disaster or fuel shortage affects your area.
The advice shared here offers a starting point for your company and fleet to think about how you deal with sudden challenges. Do you have a plan in place? Can you improve communication across your fleet in an emergency? Do drivers have a clear understanding of their priorities and responsibilities during a storm or shortage?
Whatever the circumstances, being prepared and staying connected are the two pillars of a safe and smoothly operating fleet.