Risk Management Roundup – What’s in your forecast?


It’s easy to just jump into a vehicle and head toward a destination on a sunny, calm day. But we’re approaching the time of year when severe weather conditions can make the journey more complicated. Snow, ice, rain, fog, wildfire, wind — they all present considerable hazards that can come seemingly out of nowhere. A healthy respect for unpredictable weather, mixed with preparedness, could be the difference between safety and disaster behind the wheel.

Weather conditions can change from minute to minute and location to location. Even the most thorough travel plans may quickly become irrelevant — sometimes while you’re on the road. To help your employees stay safe during inclement weather season, monitor your forecast daily, and prepare your vehicles and drivers appropriately.

Keep an eye on the sky

While weather forecasts aren’t 100 percent accurate, they offer a good starting point for you and your drivers. Most meteorology services, such as the National Weather Service publish their predictions a week or more in advance and update them as conditions change. Start planning for road conditions early, but be prepared for last-minute changes. If you deem the conditions too dangerous, keep your vehicles off the road.

Keep safety top of mind

Remind your drivers that the weather should influence how they drive. Review safe driving practices (such as turning on your lights or allowing for extra braking time) that may be necessary to mitigate the risks involved in severe weather driving.

Communicate and educate

Ensure drivers can reach you if conditions deteriorate, and they have up-to-date contact information for their destination. Educate them on what to do if stranded on the side of the road. They may need to decide if it is safe to leave the vehicle or if they should stay put, attract attention or call for help, and keep themselves safe until the weather calms down.

Equip your vehicles for emergencies

Your company vehicles are often the only things between your employees and the elements. Outfit vehicles with weather-appropriate tires, perform needed maintenance, check windshield wipers and fluid levels, and pack an emergency kit, which could include:

  • Spare tire, tools
  • Flashlight, batteries
  • Matches
  • Shovel
  • Flares, reflective triangles, bright cloth
  • Bottled water
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit
  • Weather-resistant facemasks
  • Tow/tire chains
  • Windshield deicer
  • High-energy foods
  • Salt or cat litter
  • Ice scraper, snow brush
  • Cold-weather clothing

Whatever the conditions outside, the weather should guide if and how your employees drive.

Article Written By Jerry Leemkuil

Jerry Leemkuil is field manager for Association Risk Management Services, Federated Insurance Company. For information, write to Jerry at jjleemkuil@fedins.com or call 1-507-455-5507.

This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2019 Federated Mutual Insurance Company. 



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