Winter has thrown up some unpredictable weather in recent years, from flash flooding to heavy snow and high winds.
Such extreme weather can take its toll on road vehicles and, for those that are unprepared, the effects can push them out of action and off the road.
Especially for company fleet managers, there’s a responsibility to ensure all vehicles are equipped to cope with these conditions and keep employees safe whilst out on the road.
As such, fleet specialists Venson Automotive Solutions have made a list of what fleet decision makers can do to minimise disruption to operations and maximise staff safety.
- Clean the windscreen inside and out to maximise visibility because scratches and chips on the outside can worsen the dazzling effect of the low winter sun. Traffic officers can dish out hefty fines if a windscreen is obscured by dirt or snow.
- Check windscreen wipers regularly and replace when damaged.
- Top up windscreen washer fluid and treat it with a proprietary additive to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.
- Ensure that all bulbs are working and that headlights are clean and aligned correctly.
- Keep number plates clean. Dirty or illegible reg plates could land you with a fine.
Try your tyres
- Check that your tyres’ tread depth exceed the legal minimum of 1.6mm throughout a continuous strip in the centre, three quarters of the tread and around the entire tyre circumference. Again, anything less than 1.6mm poses a high risk to all road users, not just your drivers.
In the event of snow
- Don’t drive anywhere until the windscreen is de-misted and clear of ice. Ensure there is good visibility out of all windows.
- Clear snow from the car’s bonnet and roof – braking hard could send a deluge of snow descending across your field of view.
- Make sure you’re suitably stocked. Aside from an ice scraper and de-icer, pack a fully charged mobile phone and an in-car charger in case your primary phone dies. Also carry a torch, first-aid kit, tow rope, foil blanket, warm coat, gloves and boots, jump leads, shovel, warning triangle, an old sack or rug (to put under the wheels if you do get stuck) and protein-based snacks with a bottle of water, should the worst happen.
- Major roads are more likely to have been cleared and gritted, so plan your route to stick to main roads.
Gil Kelly, operations director at Venson Automotive Solutions, comments: “Preparing your fleet vehicles for winter is essential to avoid emergency repairs and to keep downtime to a minimum.
“During the winter months, fleet safety should be a priority for fleet managers. The winter season requires the most care and preparation for fleet vehicles, as drivers are exposed to more challenging driving conditions and are more vulnerable to crashes and breakdowns.”
Fleet managers are advised to have a winter driving policy in place that addresses how vehicles are prepared for winter, what equipment a driver should carry for unexpected situations and what they should do in the event of an emergency, such as an accident, breakdown or getting caught up in bad weather.
Molly Benton, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, adds: “This is all sound and valuable advice from Venson Automotive Solutions. Britain has gotten off lightly in previous years with relatively kind winters, but sudden snow can always catch you out, so it’s vital to be prepared.”
Photo: Steve Mason/Thinkstock
Posted on 14th November 2017
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