Speed Reduction

The Financial Cost of Speed

Vehicles are engineered for an optimum performance and a fairly accurate measure of performance is MPG. Fleet owners want their vehicles operated optimally so MPG is commonly used to measure performance. That being said, those who rely solely on MPG are taking the easy way out - all factors such as safety, maintenance, customer service, professional appearance, paperwork, etc. need to be considered when reviewing overall driver performance.

Now, back to MPG - driving involves a lot of personal habits and it helps if we can personalize the message to try to improve the choices we make as drivers and the habits we develop. A habit of speeding affects both fuel economy and safety, so we need to be good speed managers. Here is a good website to show how to save money in our personal vehicle: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/drive.shtml.

This site allows you to enter what you pay for fuel and what type of vehicle you drive. Then it calculates exactly what speeding costs you, particuarly once you get over 50 mph. The basic principals apply to commercial driving as well, so if we personalize the message and improve personal driving habits, the result should benefit commercial fleet operations overall.

Adverse Driving Conditions

Speed Reduction

Snow, ice, and rain all affect your ability to control and, most importantly, stop your vehicle. When traction is reduced, SLOW DOWN. The National Safety Council and the CDL manual recommend a 25% speed reduction for wet roads, 50% for snowy conditions, and reducing your speed to a crawl on icy conditions.

Ultimately, if you feel that it is unsafe to continue, find a safe location and park your truck until the conditions improve. This is not only good sense, but it is the law as well. No freight schedule or load is worth your life of the life of others.


Adverse driving conditions are not limited to traction. Blowing snow or fog can create "white-out" conditions that obstruct your ability to see. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot see at least 7 seconds ahead of your vehicle, slow down to whatever speed is necessary to adjust. If the speed reduction causes you to become a hazard to people behind you, find a safe place and park until the conditions improve.

Often times it is difficult to evaluate the visibility ahead. Watch for other traffic and if their taillights disappear, slow down! Likewise, if approaching traffic suddenly appears out of the fog or snow, slow down! If there is any doubt or concern in your mind, slow down! Waiting to slow until after you have entered the area of reduced visibility is a formula for disaster.