Winter Outlook 2018-19

Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its annual outlook for winter in the United States. In their report, key takeaways include a warmer than usual winter for much of the Northern and Western U.S., as well as a wetter than usual winter for the Southeastern U.S.

What might these trends mean for service businesses with mobile workers? Let’s discuss.

Warmer Up North and to the West

Winter 2018 Temperature Outlook

Warmer than usual weather is generally going to be a positive thing for companies with mobile workers. “Warmer” can still involve below freezing temperatures in many regions. It can mean less snow and ice accumulation in the coolest climates, and possibly the need to run the AC in the Southwestern states.

Warmer weather can also mean less warm-up time for your vehicles, so less of a need for the vehicles to be left idling. Excessive idling can cost you money on fuel and increase oil consumption and wear and tear on the engine.

Warmer weather can also mean safer driving conditions, which is always a plus. On the flip side, however, it can also mean deceptively safer driving conditions, leading to drivers driving faster and less cautiously on wet roads that aren’t frozen, but are slick and dangerous nonetheless.

Wetter Down South

Winter 2018 Precipitation Outlook

Continuing a trend from the summer, wetter conditions in the South and particularly the Southeast can mean dangerous road conditions and slower drive times. Businesses can proactively prepare by keeping an eye on the weather when determining routing and scheduling.

In areas where heavy rain and flooding can occur, it becomes even more important for fleet managers to be aware of roadways that may become hazardous and re-route drivers accordingly.

While not great for farmers, drought conditions can be beneficial to fleet operators because they mean drier road conditions, especially during the coldest months. The drier conditions in the Northern part of the U.S. can be a nice reprieve for workers use to navigating snowy and icy roads in the winter.

Prepare Yourself

Wet or dry, cold or warm, the best way to monitor your drivers’ behavior, to ensure safe driving and proper vehicle maintenance, is with fleet tracking software. Not only does GPS fleet tracking monitor the locations of your vehicles, but it can also track speeding, hard stopping and starting, excessive idling, and more.

If you’re ready to prepare your business for winter by starting to track now, give us a call at 800-293-0420.