Considerations for Winter Vehicle Transport

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According to the Winter 2015-2016 outlook, this year’s El Niño is forecasted to become one of the strongest on record. Winter is definitely the hardest time for car haulers since they have to account for highway closures and dangerous driving conditions. Following is some information to help you plan and be prepared for the winter shipping season.

Inclement Weather Affects Travel Time

  • Transport through mountainous regions can cause significant delays, especially when the Department of Transportation mandates tire-chain requirements during snowy conditions.
  • Drivers can usually only run about 20-30 miles per hour when the chain rule is in effect, and those caught operating without chains can be hit with steep fines.
  • Depending on how bad conditions are, an additional two to three days may be required for transport.
  • Time spent sitting in traffic is also counted towards hours of service and drivers must adhere to rules governing consecutive driving hours and appropriate rest periods.
  • Clear your load/unload area of snow and ice to allow for safe handling of vehicles.
  • If possible, extend your delivery hours or allow for weekend delivery times.
  • Communicate with our dispatchers to make them aware of any changes in hours of delivery and/or load/unload areas at your location.

Maximize Your Loads

By maximizing loads, you can reduce transportation costs and avoid the risk of winter storms delaying your overall inventory replenishment.

  • Passenger cars average eight to nine per load, depending on the size of the sedan.
  • For midsize vehicles such as minivans, the average load factor is seven.
  • For mixed loads of eight, the makeup can consist of:
    • four midsize vehicles and four cars, or
    • five SUVs and three cars
  • If you call for a quote on a full truckload and then exceed the number of vehicles that can fit on that truck, the single car or cars left over will have a much higher cost of transportation on a per-unit basis.

Combined Purchasing Efforts

  • When possible, combine purchasing efforts in an area to save time and money. A driver would rather have a few stops in one day than have to drive empty miles between stops over a number of days.
  • With the increasing amount of auto operations, look for opportunities to partner with other nearby companies to share the load and reduce your transit time.

MetroGistics’ dispatchers work closely with customers to apprise them of all options and do their best to provide accurate ETAs and help ensure safe delivery. We do this by:

  • Promoting safe driving practices and strict adherence to all DOT regulations. We will not tolerate cutting corners or utilize drivers who break the rules.
  • Staying up to date on weather conditions across the country and advising our customers of possible transit delays.
  • Staying in constant contact with our carriers and providing nightly shipment status updates to our customers.

If you have any questions, call us at 877-571-6235, live chat via our home page, or email

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