Winter weather can wreak havoc on highways, railroads, and shipping channels, promoting some significantly unique challenges in the world of freight and transportation. Poor driving conditions, freezing weather conditions, and an increased risk of injury are all related to winter storms. The transportation sector already has baked-in challenges with risks apparent in its daily operations, and these risks are only intensified during the colder months.
Fleet owners and operators should be more aware of winter-related risks and know how to handle them through a mix of transportation insurance coverage and proactive solutions. Equipped with this knowledge, drivers and operators can be better prepared and protected during the next few months.
New Legislation, Same Risks
This month, the U.S. Congress finally agreed on terms to move forward with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, an updated trade deal that would replace NAFTA. The Trump Administration needs to submit the legislation for ratification to Congress in order for the House of Representatives to approve the agreement. Once this is done, it could be a matter of a few months before all involved start seeing the benefits.
One of those benefits is more freight and commodities moving along throughout the United States, and between Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. With this in mind, it’s important to note that our country, at least is dependent upon the transportation sector. The trucking industry moves goods on the highways throughout the country, and with a new deal in place, more of those goods could be hitting the roads.
Risks in the Transportation Sector
But even with a 90-day window, the roads will still be busy with more freight moving along during winter. Physical risks are not the only consideration that should be looked at when winter weather is present. From shipping delays to supply chain interruption to road challenges, the transportation industry is at higher risk in the cold months.
The main risk associated with winter weather is unfavorable driving conditions for truck drivers. Winter storms can present risks related to snowy and icy roads, creating serious hazards that can make trucking, for instance, nearly impossible. Reduced visibility from blowing snow and sleet can cause interference with the visibility of drivers on the roads.
Risks related to snowy conditions and wet roads can go beyond just being behind the wheel. Truck drivers and transportation professionals who have to walk on these roads or work on loading docks run the risk of slipping and falling. These injuries can happen when entering or exiting a vehicle, or when loading a truck. Drivers and shipping personnel are at risk of this type of injury if storm conditions produce snow, ice, and sleet.
It’s important for companies to train their employees to be safe and slow down when they are working in winter weather conditions. For businesses in the industry, it’s important to stay on top of transportation insurance to ensure better risk management in winter. Transportation insurance can help to protect companies from slip and fall claims, and other weather-related incidents, such as wrecks caused by snowy conditions, injuries that come out of them, or lost or damaged freight goods. This program and similar items can help trucking companies keep costs low while operating during a challenging time of year.
Dealing with Winterized Transportation Risks
Outside of insuring a company with transportation insurance, ensuring risk management during the winter for transportation companies comes through adequate preparation. By altering operations in advance, companies can better handle the risks that transporters will have to face, no matter what.
Regardless of weather conditions, however, it’s important to take note of the different ways to keep risks at bay. To overcome shipping delays, potential injuries, accidents, or shortages, transportation companies can cut down on challenges and claims.
Drivers who expect to work on unfavorable roads in the winter may need to adopt better safety practices in order to drive safely throughout the season. First, extreme conditions should be avoided whenever possible by using route mapping and weather forecasting tools when storms are fast approaching.
Next, adjusting travel schedules to make the most of daylight and cut down on delays related to winter weather can help drivers. Leaving early can be a major component in minimizing the stress of tight delivery schedules.
Also, drivers should be sure to increase the distance between vehicles on the road and slow down when traveling, allowing for more time to react to worsening conditions. On slicker roads, following distances may need to be doubled and speed should be decreased.
About Genesee General
At Genesee, we strive to provide quality insurance solutions for the Commercial E & S sector. Our longstanding expertise has allowed us to successfully serve your clients for over three decades. Our specialized products include coverages for Transportation, Garage, P & C, Professional, Brokerage Property, Specialty Programs and many more. For more information about our products, we invite you to contact us today at (800) 282-8755.