The weather in the winter months in the UK can be very changeable, with many motorists caught out by snow, ice and water on the roads. For some of the most experienced drivers, journeys can become very treacherous when faced with extreme, fog, wind, rain, ice and snow.
Even if your drivers and vehicles are capable and well equipped, that doesn’t stop other road users from having an accident or conditions causing long delays. If the weather takes a turn for the worse when drivers are in the middle of a journey, they may find themselves stuck for prolonged periods of time. You should always ensure that your entire fleet is ready and prepared for the worst conditions.
Prepare your fleet for the winter
It is essential to ensure that you fleet undergoes regular maintenance checks, and in adverse weather conditions it is vital to check the basics more frequently. Here are a few things to keep your eye on when seeing your fleet through the winter:
- Keep the fleet maintained by checking all tyre treads, tyre pressures, windscreen wipers, brake pads and batteries are meeting requirements and/or working efficiently.
- Ensure all vehicles are using a good strength antifreeze in both the radiator and windscreen wash to protect them.
- Depending on your fleet consider switching to winter tyres to ensure that they can best cope with heavy snow or ice.
- Provide your drivers with winter emergency packs to ensure they have the correct provisions within their vehicles in case of emergency.
- Make sure your fleet insurance details are all up to date and that you have sufficient cover for all eventualities.
- Make sure your drivers know how to drive in a range of weather conditions, and consider providing advice, policies and procedures on what to do in the event of extreme weather.
- Remind your drivers of best practice such as slowing down in adverse weather and to use the safest routes.
Keeping your drivers safe on the roads
Even the best drivers can become unstuck in severe weather. Help your drivers plan their journeys but passing on these few helpful tips.
Before setting off:
- Check the travel reports before commencing any journey
- If driving is not business critical consider re-arranging appointments and travel
- Travel with a fully charged mobile phone and in-vehicle charging options
- Allow extra time to account for any delays
- Ensure there are winter emergency provisions in the vehicle including: warm clothing, blankets, torches, tow ropes, high visibility jackets, de-icer, scrapers, food/drink provisions and emergency contact information.
- Drivers should ensure that their visibility is clear
- Vehicle should be clear of all snow before leaving
- Ensure the vehicles external camera lenses and side view mirrors are clean and clear
- Ensure that the vehicles lights are clear and working well
- Check windscreen wipers are working and antifreeze is included in the windscreen wash
- Check all tyres are correctly inflated and suitable for the conditions
- Ensure the fuel tank is kept near to full
During the journey:
- Increase your following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly when on roads that are wet or have been gritted
- Don't power up hills or stop when going uphill
- Avoid driving through flood water
- Ensure to brake progressively before reaching a bend
- Keep an eye out for larger vehicles creating spray that may reduce visibility