• Preparing Your Vehicles For Summer Driving

    We’ve been talking about preparing your drivers for summer conditions this week, but what about your vehicles? Hot summer weather presents a new set of challenges for vehicles, so it’s important to be prepared. Use these tips to make sure your fleet is ready for summer.

    • Make sure that the air conditioning system is filled with refrigerant and is free of leaks.

    • Take the opportunity to check headlights, brake lights and turn signals to make sure they are in proper working order.

    • Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition and replace if necessary; sudden summer downpours can spring up at any time.

    • Check the levels of all engine fluids, especially coolant.

    • Examine all of your vehicle’s belts and hoses, and replace any that show wear.

    • Have your vehicle’s emissions tested and make sure they comply with federal standards.

    • Check to see that tires are inflated to the correct pressure- pressure should be slightly higher during summer due to heat.

    Making sure that your vehicles are ready for summer will help to avoid costly repairs and delays. Perform these checks on your fleet and keep your cool all summer long!

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    • Fleet Resources

  • Many fleets serve companies in industries like construction, whose work can become very difficult during the sweltering summer months.  Exposure to heat for prolonged periods can be dangerous for you employees, so here are some tips to keep your most valuable asset protected under the summer sun.


    Keeping Your Employees Cool on the Job

    1. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is crucial when working in hot weather. Keeping a bottle of water handy at all times will help you to avoid dehydration. Even if you are not thirsty, take a drink at least every 30 minutes or so to keep from losing too much water to perspiration.


    2. Pace yourself.  Deadlines or even a desire to get done faster can cause workers to push themselves physically, which can be especially dangerous in extreme heat.  Pace yourself physically and take frequent breaks in the shade (if available) to keep from overexerting yourself.


    3. Dress for the conditions. Your company’s uniform may not be optimized for hot weather, so consider making some exceptions for hot outdoor work. Make sure you are wearing a breathable material and a hat to shield your face from the sun.  Applying sunscreen should also be a priority, and should be reapplied as necessary to prevent sunburn.


    4. Bring more workers and take shorter shifts on the job. Working in shorter bursts with more rest will do wonders for your group’s endurance in hot conditions.


    5. Don’t stay outside all day. Whenever possible, take a short break and spend a few minutes in an air-conditioned building or vehicle to give yourself time to cool down.  Make sure these breaks last at least 10 minutes to give your body’s internal temperature time to drop a bit.


    6. Bring the right tools.  A spray bottle filled with ice water can provide refreshment all day long.  Keep several bandanas submerged in a cooler of ice water, and apply them to your head as the day progresses.  You will stay cool for longer and feel more comfortable while you work.


    With these tips, your employees will be more comfortable, more efficient, and most importantly, safer while working in hot conditions. If you have any tips of your own, tell us in the comment section!


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    • Industry News

  • With business picking up and more drivers on the roads for the summer driving season, it’s important to make sure your drivers are being safe out on the road. Unfortunately, it seems that some drivers are not as current on their safety rules as they ought to be:

    Experienced Drivers Flub Written Driving Test, Study Shows

    LeaseTrader.com conducted a study of 500 men and women that showed drivers with more than 20 years of experience scored nearly 18-percent lower on written driving tests than younger drivers.

    The more driving experience people had, the worse their scores on the questions. Drivers of more than 20 years scored an average of 46 percent correct; between 10-20 years of experience scored 58 percent correct; and between 5-10 years 64 percent correct. Not one person scored every question correct and more than three quarters of the entire exam population answered four or more questions incorrectly – thus a failing grade.

    In addition the study looked at differences in test scores based on gender. Men scored an average of 59 percent answers correct while women answered just 46 percent correct. The study’s subjects answered the same 10 sample questions found on written driving exams across the U.S.

    Men had the most difficult time answering a question addressing the procedure for approaching a stopped school bus on the other side of a divided highway. Although most men said you should watch for children and be ready to stop, the correct answer is stop and wait until flashing red lights are off.

    Women had the most difficult time with a question addressing the appropriate speed limit on primary and secondary state and federal highways. Although most women said the speed limit is 65 mph the correct answer is actually 55 mph.

    “It may be time to take a closer look at the way in which we test drivers,” commented Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing for Edmunds.com. “The United States has a far less rigorous training and testing process than many developed countries – and a much higher per capita rate of fatal accidents.”

     [via Business Fleet]

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    • Industry News

  • With the extreme weather conditions that have hit the country hard over the last few months and tornado season still in effect across the nation’s heartland, it’s a good time to think about educating your drivers on what to do if a tornado hits while they are on the road.  Pass along the following tips from Automotive Fleet to your drivers:

    Fleet Safety Tip: Tornadoes


    -A "tornado warning" means a twister is developing or is actually on the ground. It is more severe than a "tornado watch," which means conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms, which may or may not spawn tornadoes.

    -Tornadoes can toss cars and large trucks around like toys. Never try to outrun a tornado.

    -If you see a funnel cloud or hear a tornado warning issued on the radio or by siren, get out of your vehicle and seek a safe structure.

    -Seeking shelter indoors is best, if possible. A basement is safest. Closets or small interior rooms are preferable. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture or mattress and stay away from south and west walls and all windows.

    -Do not seek shelter in a mobile home. These structures, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

    -If you are caught in the open, with no indoor buildings available to you, find a ditch, ravine or low-lying area and lie flat. Stay away from roadway overpasses. Cover the back of your head and neck with your hands; keep alert for flash floods.

    -In general, whenever you're driving during a storm, remember that wet roads mean poor traction. Conditions are most dangerous during the first 10 minutes of a heavy downpour as oil and debris wash away. Driving on wet roads in the rain is just like driving on ice. Take it easy and allow extra time.


    Keep these tips in mind and be safe on the roads!


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    • Fleet Resources

  • When fleet operators choose vehicles for their fleet use, several factors influence the decision.  Among the most important attributes fleet managers look for is long-term reliability, ensuring that vehicles will not have to be replaced until absolutely necessary.  But when is it time to upgrade or replace your fleet vehicles?  With changing automotive technologies and workloads, knowing when your fleet may need refreshing can be difficult.  Consider the following guidelines to see if your fleet could use a change.

    When is it Time to Upgrade Your Fleet?


    1. Keep current.

    If your fleet is still stocked with a number of older model years, you may be missing out on features that not only make your work easier, but can also increase safety.  Newer vehicles have better environmental standards and utilize new technologies to assist your drivers in the course of their daily work.  For example, voice-activated GPS and telephone features in newer cars put your drivers at less risk for distracted driving, keeping them safe.


    2. Keep an eye on costs.

    Holding on to a vehicle may make sense to avoid the price of purchasing a new vehicle, but older vehicles can come with a whole set of other costs.  Wear and tear makes maintenance a much more frequent and costly operation, and the lower fuel efficiency that comes with an aging vehicle costs you more money on fuel. When repair bills start piling up, it may be time to reconsider purchasing a new vehicle.


    3. Invest in Efficiency.

    Newer vehicles are more fuel-efficient, from new gasoline engines to hybrid vehicles and alternative fuel technologies. It may cost you more in the short term to purchase a hybrid vehicle for deliveries around town, but the fuel savings will help to pay for the cost of that vehicle within just a few years.


    4. Use Vehicles that Work for You.

    Invest in fleet vehicles that work best for your business, even if they cost a little more. If you are making daily deliveries but purchase vehicles with low capacity due to cost, you may find yourself making two or three times as many trips per day, spending far more than the price difference in fuel costs alone.


    5. Wait Until You’re Sure.

    While it is important to reinvest in your fleet from time to time, you should make sure that you really need new vehicles before purchasing or trading in.  Making changes too early and too often will put a strain on your company’s bottom line faster than any inefficiencies or repair costs.


    Keeping your fleet current, well-maintained and running smoothly will keep your company working well into the future.  Make sure that your fleet stays on the right track with good buying habits.  And, as always, don’t forget good fuel management!


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    • Fleet Resources

  • In a consumer advisory launched June 2, the U.S. Department of Transportation urged all motorists to inspect their tires for proper inflation and signs of tread wear and damage before driving in hot weather.

    Fleet Safety Summer Heat

    The consumer advisory coincides with National Tire Safety Week, June 5-11, and comes at a time when driving increases with the kick-off of the summer travel season.

    "As the weather warms up, it's especially important for drivers to ensure their tires are properly inflated," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "For your safety and the safety of others on the road, inspect your tires regularly and maintain the proper inflation."

    The latest data from the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that over the five-year period from 2005 to 2009, nearly 3,400 people died, and an estimated 116,000 were injured in tire-related crashes.

    While it's true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of year, it is particularly critical for motorists to check tires during hot weather, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland warned. "Underinflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time can be a recipe for disaster."

    The DOT urges motorists to check their tire pressure before long trips and to inspect tires periodically. Motorists should also be aware that aging tires and hot weather can be a potentially deadly combination, as older tires are more susceptible to heat stress, especially if they are not properly inflated. Motorists should check the tire sidewall to see how old their tires are, and check with the tire manufacturer or the vehicle owner's manual for recommendations on how often to change tires.

    Properly inflated tires will also improve a vehicle's fuel. According to the Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov Web site, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 PSI (pound per square inch) drop in pressure of all four tires.

    For example, for a vehicle with a fuel-economy rating of 30 miles per gallon and a 35 PSI tire pressure recommendation, a drop of 25 percent in tire pressure would equate to a loss of 8.8 percent in fuel economy, or a drop of 2.6 miles per gallon.

    [via Automotive Fleet]


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    • Small Business Help Tips

  • No AC? No Problem.

    Jun 13, 2011
    Fleet Safety Summer Heat

    Summer is here, and that means that your drivers will find themselves working in hotter conditions. Exposure to extreme summer temperatures can cause major health issues, including heat stroke. If any of your vehicles have broken air conditioners, your drivers are at an increased risk. So here are some tips to keep cool without AC, courtesy of WikiHow.

           Plan your travel times. Early morning is often the coolest time of the day, and if you are not on a fixed schedule, to work, for instance, you can plan on doing as much driving as possible before the heat is unbearable. 
           Work with the traffic flow. Avoid "rush hours", when people are on their way to work, or home afterward. This event may cause you to be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic hardly moving along at all.

          Look for shady routes to your frequent destinations. If you drive in a north or south direction, tree-lined streets and roadways are often shady for much of the day.
           Roll down the windows. If you have a fan operated fresh air vent, open it, turn on the fan, and open a rear window enough to draw a draft through your automobile. A sun roof or sliding back window will draw a lot of fresh air, even when you are barely moving.

           Install reflective window tinting on the windshield and windows. This can offer a substantial reduction in direct sunlight coming into your car. (Note: check with your state to ensure this is legal. Some states do not allow this practice.)

          Put a fan on the dashboard or hang it from the visor. There are a number of inexpensive 12-volt fans available at auto parts stores and retailers that plug into a cigarette lighter plug to move air.

          Dress down. If you have a long commute to work or school, you may be able to drive in short pants and a tee shirt, then change in a restroom or locker room at work, leaving you cleaner and cooler for the day ahead.
          A 10lb block of ice on the floorboards under a vent will help cool things down. This was “Arizona AC” in the 40's and 50's.The ice block can rest in a plastic pan or baking tin. Opening a window a little will help with airflow.

          Take a cooler. Pack a cooler with enough ice to keep your drinks cold. For the extreme, drink the melted ice water!

          Bring a cold pack. The night before work, put a cold pack in the freezer. Before you leave the next morning, take it out and wrap it in a towel. It will last a while.

    Use these helpful tips to keep your drivers cool, comfortable, and safe in the months ahead.

    [via WikiHow]

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    • Fleet Resources

  • We trust our employees. We really do. But things happen. Maybe your driver wants a soft drink. Or maybe he’s looking for a little snack.

    For our last post, the 5th sign that you are possibly missing your business’ fuel dollars: paying for more than just business fuel.

    wasting money nonfuel expenses Misuse #5: Non Fuel Items showing up on receipts..

    How we help identify these: A fleet card can provide specific purchasing details, including the fuel grade, fuel grade cost, total gallons, and total dollars spent. Any other items purchased will show as NON-FUEL items with the total dollars spent.

    So what do you do? If you allow your drivers to by items while out, great. However, if you would like to limit your fuel dollars to fuel purchases only, make sure you have set up your fleet cards to only be used for fuel. You can even restrict purchasing fuel to paying at the pump.


    This concludes our series 5 Signs That You Are Possibly Misusing Your Business’ Fueling Dollars. If you missed any of the signs, click below for the article.

    Misuse #1: I Told You Not To Fuel There!

    Misuse #2: I Am Begging You, Please Enter Your Odometer Reading Correctly!

    Misuse #3: Purchasing Gas More Than Once A Day?

    Misuse #4: Need To Know When My Vehicles Are Caput!


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    • TrendWatch

  • You’re vehicles are always on the road. And while your employees are driving them everyday, they might not think to tell you about the thump, clank or grinding sound that started the other.

    The 4th sign that you are possibly misusing your business’ fuel dollars: overlooking regular vehicle maintenance

    proper vehicle maintenance

    Misuse #4 Poor Miles per Gallon.

    How we help identify these: With the correct reporting in place and when accurate odometer information is entered at the point of purchasing fuel, fleet cards can track vehicle performance by Miles Per Gallon (MPG)  and Cost Per Gallon (CPG).  If there is a spike or a drop in these numbers, it is a key indicator that the vehicle may be in disrepair or possible misuse has occurred.

    So what do you do? Check your fleet card reports. By logging into your online account management tool, you can see the miles driven on every vehicle and work with your team to put a maintenance plan in place. It is expensive to change oil in all of your vehicles, but it’s much more expensive to have a vehicle break down on the side of the road.

    Photo courtesy of auto-facts.org and re-used under the Creative Commons license.

    • TrendWatch

  • It’s Not Personal. It’s Just Business. For purchasing business fuel that is.

    The 3rd sign that you are possibly misusing your business’ fuel dollars: drivers filling up a few times a day. improper tracking report

    #3 Multiple purchases made in one day.

    How you can identify these: Any purchases made with a fleet card set up with the proper customization can generate real-time purchasing authorizations and declines. A fleet manager can use this data to monitor and limit the number of transactions allowed by card and/or by driver per day. Any attempts above the limits can be set to “DECLINE” or “ALLOW & REPORT” to help prevent the misuse of company resources.

    So what do you do? Review the settings on your fleet cards. Fleet cards can provide a number of settings, allowing fleet managers to customize the cards for best use. Once you know your fleet cards are set appropriately, you can manage your fuel spend more efficiently.


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    • TrendWatch