The Supply Chain Industry is dictated by the effects of weather more so than any other, as weather-related shipping challenges cost anywhere between 2 billion and 3.5 billion per year on average.
The winter season is arguably the most challenging time of the year for the freight shipping industry. Frigid temperatures, unstable road conditions, and many other winter hazards often lead to shipment delays, shortages and supply chain nightmares.
As winter quickly approaches, shippers need to start preparing for what lies ahead of them in the coming months.
5 Types of Winter Road Hazard
- Fog. Valley fog forms when cold, dense air drains from areas of higher elevation into low areas. As the cool air accumulates in the valley, the temperature sometimes decreases to the dew point temperature and creates dense fog. Drivers should expect reduced visibility and turn on their vehicle’s lights, slow down and increase the following distances when driving in fog.
- Freezing fog is composed of super-cooled water droplets that form when the temperature falls below 32 F. These droplets freeze and form ice as soon as they contact a cold surface. Freezing fog creates driving problems such as reduced visibility, poor traction and directional control, and possible skidding. Drivers should turn on their vehicle’s lights, reduce their speed, accelerate slowly, increase following distances, brake moderately and make turns slowly.
- Snow. Snow forms when water vapor in the air freezes and creates small ice crystals. Some common hazards associated with driving in snow include reduced visibility and traction, less directional control and increased braking distance. When snow melts and refreezes, drivers encounter even more hazardous road conditions. Intersections, high-traffic areas and shady spots that were exposed to direct sunlight earlier in the day are prone to ice over from melted snow. During snowy conditions, drivers must reduce their speed, brake moderately, make turns slowly and increase the following distance between vehicles.
- Ice. Another dangerous condition associated with winter weather is windshield icing. Windshields and other glass surfaces can ice over when the temperature is low enough to freeze moisture on ground surfaces. Conditions are ripe for windshield icing any time there’s visible ground haze. All ice must be removed from the vehicle’s windshield and other windows before operations begin. Preventive maintenance checks and services should be performed on each vehicle to ensure the defroster and heater system are functioning properly. It’s a good idea to keep an ice scraper in your vehicle just in case the defroster stops working.
- Black ice is a thin sheet of dark ice on the roadway, is extremely dangerous because it’s hard for drivers to detect before they’re actually on it. Black ice forms when light rain or drizzle falls on a road surface below 32 F or when super-cooled fog droplets accumulate on bridges and overpasses. A roadway covered with black ice appears wet when the ambient temperature is below freezing.
Drivers must use extreme caution when driving on suspected black ice surfaces. Vehicles that hit black ice have little to no traction, which means little to no braking capability, and extremely poor directional control with a heightened possibility of skidding. Optimally, travel should stop in black ice conditions. If that isn’t an option, drivers should reduce their speed, accelerate very slowly, increase the following distance between vehicles, brake very lightly and make all turns gradually and slowly.
We hope you find this information useful. Stay connected for more relevant information for your industry and let us know if we can provide assistance with your operations, as We’RControl provides with a Business Logistics Solutions tool that can improve your operation in more ways than one. You can find us at www.wercontrol.us, through our social media platforms on Facebook and LinkedIn, by mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone or text to (281)217-8954, we will be more than happy to help.