Weather is a major factor in how transportation is handled. Some aspects and different weather conditions can have surprising – and not always negative – side effects. Some of the most common weather conditions are rain, snow, and fog. Each of these impacts our lives in profound ways, especially in terms of motor transportation.
With each of these weather conditions, traffic tends to slow. For consumers, this is an annoyance, but for companies it can mean huge profit loss. By interrupting lean systems with factors like weather, companies have to have contingency plans in place. In some cases, trucks will completely miss load times and therefore be refused by the receivers. This can cause a truck to have to idle for as long as a day until the area is able to receive the load again. In doing so, other deliveries may be delayed, especially if there is some sort of backhaul a truck would be doing. Every delay in the supply chain has a ripple effect. Not only is there a slowdown in traffic, but accidents are also more likely to occur. That is something a company has to hedge against in order to buffer from extreme damages and potential lawsuits if a driver is behaving recklessly.
However, surprisingly, there isn’t as much efficiency loss as one would expect in terms of gas mileage. While the traffic is moving slower, on snow and rain the wheels of the truck actually have less friction with the road. What this does is allow for the same truck to semi-slide on the pavement rather than just roll on it. Estimates have placed the increase in fuel economy as high as 3%. If there is a situation where a truck can move at the same speed on these more slick roads, there can actually be an increase is gas mileage efficiency.
More so than not, these conditions can be unsafe. Especially in areas with heavy congestion already, drivers have a tendency to take riskier maneuvers which can lead to collisions. For every collision, traffic screeches to a halt while emergency vehicles sort out the mess.
What everyone needs to be aware of, whether they know it or not, is that we all affect the supply chain of every company that uses the roads we drive on. Our actions have serious consequences on the efficiency of companies’ transportation and on the safety of everyone around us. What can we do to make the road a safer and more efficient place to travel on?
I suggest reading this for a humorous and helpful article on exactly that issue: http://www.cracked.com/article_20106_6-little-known-driving-tips-that-could-save-your-life.html