Winter driving tips; NAIAS show update

We have a saying here in Chicago: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Never was this truer than this week. Temperatures on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday hovered around 50 degrees – highly unusual for this time of year and pretty much what we’ve been experiencing for the last several weeks. Ah, but how quickly everything changes. On Thursday temps dropped and the first storm of the season blanketed Chicago with more snow in just a few hours than we’ve seen all winter. Flights were cancelled. Weather alerts were posted. And the roads were scattered with vehicles involved in snow-related incidents.


As many parts of the country experience their first (or twenty-first!) snowstorm of the year, it’s important to remember how different it is to drive in snow and ice than on dry roads. Steve Jansen, Donlen’s Manager Regulatory Compliance and Truck Services, is an industry veteran who knows firsthand how to navigate the roads safely. “Patience may be the most important factor when driving in winter,” said Steve. “As road conditions worsen, traffic becomes congested, drivers become more nervous, and the likelihood of accidents increase. Being well-rested and slowing down will help ensure you arrive at your destination safely.”

Steve shares his expertise including general safety guidelines, pre-trip planning, and safe practices while behind the wheel in “Winter Driving Tips: Navigating the Roads Safely.”

If you’d like to speak with Steve directly about issues surrounding regulatory compliance, safety, or general truck services, please call 847-412-4961 or email

Industry News

We’ve been watching news from the 2012 North American International Auto Show going on this week in Detroit, Michigan.

The Detroit Big Three came out strong, with new product launches including the Ford Fusion and the Dodge Dart. GM continues to target the luxury market with the new Cadillac ATS and two cars from Chevrolet, the Tru 140s and the Code 130r – both aimed at the Millennial generation and developed in partnership with MTV.

Hybrids and electric vehicles (EV) continue to show in force. Plug-in hybrids, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles from Toyota, BMW, Chevrolet, Tesla, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz were showcased.

Concept cars are always popular at every auto show – and FridayFleet readily admits that we love to see them too! Here’s a great gallery of 27 unveiled this year from Toyota, GM, and others.

Happening simultaneously this week was the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Updates in technology happen as often as every year, as compared to development of a new vehicle which can take up to seven years. As more manufacturers include in-vehicle connectivity with products such as Ford’s SYNC and the upcoming Chevrolet MyLink, keeping up with the latest technology and appearing at CES is more important than ever.

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, wrote a great piece titled, “Optimism at the Detroit Auto Show; it’s bigger than a city” after touring the show on Monday. In it, he talks about the innovations coming from the Big Three, including fuel-efficient vehicles and vehicles with enhanced safety features. He also discusses how for the first time the show addressed the needs of people with disabilities. The Mobility Center “showcased adaptive vehicles and accessories that can make riding in a car easier for the 54 million Americans with disabilities.” He ends that paragraph with “I hope you agree this is a terrific development.” Yes, we do agree.

Driver’s Corner

Stay safe on the road this winter. Check out Steve Jansen’s Winter Driving Tips: Navigating the Roads Safely.

And Finally…

And finally, ever wonder exactly what causes a rollover? Of course, causes are based on physics, including a vehicle’s high center of gravity, weather conditions, and changing direction rapidly. We like the way this infographic explains it visually. While you can’t do much about your vehicle’s center of gravity, you certainly can help with the other three listed. Stay safe out there.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on January 13, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (, with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”