The cold and dark days of winter are now upon us and, whether you love or hate this colder period, it’s important that each driver on the road fully understands the increased risks at this time of year. For those with a fleet of vehicles, it’s essential to ensure your entire team are prepared for the pitfalls which winter can provide in order to ensure that your business runs smoothly. Take a look at some of our hints and tips for driving in winter conditions below…
Timely Safety and Mechanical Checks
Safe driving in winter conditions begins and ends with the mechanical condition of the vehicles in question. This is why it is important to perform a series of safety examinations well in advance. Some common areas to address include:
- Inspecting all brake lights and headlamps regularly.
- Ensuring that windscreen wiper blades are fully functioning.
- Topping up all fluids such as antifreeze, oil and brake fluid.
- Examining the undercarriage for signs of wear and tear.
- Guaranteeing that cab heaters and defrosting mechanisms are working.
These preliminary steps will help to guarantee that hazardous situations can be avoided in the future.
Address Tyre Concerns
It is essential that vehicles are equipped with tyres intended to deal with treacherous winter motorways. In many cases, the designs and treads of the tyres will be slightly different. Their internal pressure could also be lower; allowing a greater surface area to grip the road below. Be sure to inspect every unit and replace any which are damaged or not intended for winter use.
The Importance of Breakdown Cover
All vehicles should have an adequate breakdown coverage plan in place. If the driver becomes involved in an accident or if the vehicle is stranded on the open road, these packages can provide immediate assistance when required. Furthermore, they will enable your business to save a significant amount of money when compared to paying out-of-pocket towing and repair costs. Be sure to compare and contrast the top providers, as they may offer discounts for fleet vehicle plans.
Effective Driver Preparation
While some situations are unavoidable, the fact of the matter is that a prepared driver is much less likely to become involved in a roadside incident. They should be informed of any safety protocols associated with winter driving conditions. It is important that they maintain the speed limit; especially when referring to surface streets that may be associated with more hazardous curve. All drivers will need to be equipped with a reliable mobile phone in the event that they become stranded or involved in an accident. They should also know exactly who to call so that the correct steps can be taken.
Emergency Concerns Simplified
In the event of an emergency, being prepared equates to personal and professional safety. Every fleet vehicle should be stocked with a number of items well in advance of the looming winter months. Some examples include:
- An emergency blanket
- A working torch with an extra set of batteries.
- A mobile phone charger.
- An emergency reflective triangle.
- A basic first-aid kit.
- At least two litres of drinking water.
This equipment will help to ensure that all drivers are protected if they happen to become stalled on a motorway or if they suffer an injury.
A Bit of Common Sense
Finally, management and employees should always embrace a logical approach in regards to winter driving safety tips. Examine weather forecasts in advance and keep abreast of any storm advisories. Prohibit driving during conditions associated with poor visibility. Encourage the drivers themselves to check the state of their vehicles before they leave the workplace in the morning. Finally, determine if all vehicles are fit for driving in winter conditions. If you suspect that any are not fully prepared, it is best to remove them from the fleet until the appropriate preparations can be made.
The concept of winter driving needs to be taken very seriously. Countless traffic accidents throughout the United Kingdom could be avoided every season if the proper steps were adopted from the very beginning. If you would like further advice or to find out more about fleet vehicle hire, please give us a call on 0118 947 650.