Winter is Coming - Stay Safe
After the glorious, windows-down weather that we enjoyed over the summer months, it is easy to forget how dangerous winter driving can be. With darker nights and freezing conditions, it is important to review your winter safety procedure to avoid accidents and injury.
Follow our top 5 tips to keep your fleet and drivers safe on the road this winter…
1) Be Prepared
Far from simply the boy scout code of honour, making sure your drivers have the right equipment for every possible situation is the most important tip to stay safe in winter. It’s not always possible to avoid all situations (think about some of the freak snow falls we’ve had in previous years), so ensuring that each driver has the following items in their cab at all times becomes extra important in the most treacherous of seasons.
- · Extra food and water for emergencies
- · Warm blanket and warm clothes in case they get stranded
- · A High visibility jacket and a high-powered torch
- · A snow shovel and bag of sand/salt
- · De-icer and an ice scraper
- · At least half a tank of fuel when ever possible- journeys can take longer due to weather and traffic conditions so keeping on top of fuel levels is extra important.
To ensure your drivers have all the correct safety equipment, both in and out of the cab, visit our Safety Wear or Garage and Workshop sections of our website and discover a wide range of quality safety products ideal for keeping everyone safe over the coming months.
2) Check the Conditions
Keep up to date with the current and forecasted weather information and make sure to brief drivers on the risk of changing conditions and closed routes via GPS systems, radio, or by getting drivers to regularly call into base. This is where telematics can be a major help in knowing where drivers are, the routes that they are taking and the opportunities to find alternative, safer routes.
3) Drive Carefully
Sudden, sharp movements can easily cause a loss of control and life-threatening accidents, even in ideal conditions. But in winter the problem gets a lot worse. Be sure to brief your drivers to:
- · Slow down – most accidents occur when drivers are travelling too fast for the conditions. Being aware of the increased stopping distances, risks of skidding and potential hazards ahead can drastically minimise the risk of accidents.
- · Allow extra space – increasing stopping distance allows time to react to the vehicles in front. During freezing and snowy conditions drivers should allow as much as ten times the normal stopping distance. It isn’t just freezing conditions to watch out for either, sun glare, wet roads and fallen debris can also cause accidents and are worth being extra aware of over the winter months.
4) Be Mindful of Hazards
Driving in winter can be a challenge for even the most experienced of drivers, but there are some particular hazards that your drivers should be consistently looking for:
- Black ice – A treacherous road condition, it manifests itself as a thin layer of transparent ice that often makes the road look slightly wet. Being hardly noticeable and appearing in patches depending on road design, external conditions and often appearing with little warning, black ice can be highly dangerous for even the most careful of drivers. Signs that there is a risk of black ice include a build-up of ice on mirror arms, antennae or the top corners of the windshield, and a lack of spray from vehicles in front.
- Fog – Heavy thick fog can limit visibility by up to 80%. Make sure your drivers use their lights and slow down at the first sign of fog, especially during winter months when fog can culminate in motorway valleys and appear as if out of nowhere.
- Heavy rain – It isn’t just snow to be wary of in winter months, the dangers of decreased visibility, increased stopping time and even aquaplaning are all associated with heavy rain. If the worst happens, tell them to hold the steering wheel straight, gently ease off the accelerator and avoid hitting the brakes hard.
- Bridges – These areas are not always accessible to the local council gritters, so make sure your drivers know to take extra care when approaching any elevated structure.
5) Safety First
We know this sounds pretty obvious, but you would be surprised how many accidents still happen that should be completely avoidable. In winter months it is still a common occurrence for drivers to slip and injure themselves by under-estimating just how slippery their vehicle steps are for example.
Wheel checks also take on extra importance over the winter months as water and ice damage can be a major cause of corrosive and structural damage to wheel nuts. With low temperatures in and around freezing point being a regular feature of the upcoming months (and drivers not wanting to spend too long out in the cold!), it takes on extra precedence to ensure wheel nut checks are mandatory to complete on every trip, products give a good visual indication of the condition of the wheel nut and any issues are quickly noticeable through highly visual wheel safety products.
To visit our full range of wheel nut safety products, visit our store HERE, or watch our short introductory video on PROPOINT to find out more about how this unique product is ideal for winter months.