WITH the dark nights and dark mornings already upon us and the UK weather becoming even more unpredictable, now is the time to think about winter driving.
Employers are responsible for the safety of employees when driving on company business, whether in a company vehicle or a private car.
Surveys indicate that drivers of company vehicles are less well-prepared for winter driving than drivers of private cars, which is a warning to fleet managers to spread the message – Be Prepared.
Drivers should be prepared as far as possible for the hazards associated with winter driving. Ideally, journeys should be avoided in bad weather, but if travel by road is necessary, some reasonable precautions should be taken:
l Check traffic information and weather bulletins for advance warnings of trouble along the route
l Plan your route to avoid exposed routes or steep country lanes. Leave yourself plenty of time to avoid rushing and make sure someone knows your route and your expected arrival time
l Make sure your vehicle is fit for the journey. Tyres should be properly inflated and have at least 3mm tread depth to be safe in wet or icy conditions. All lights should be working as should windscreen wipers, de-misters, etc
l All windows and mirrors should be unobstructed by ice or snow before starting off
l The vehicle should be regularly serviced with anti-freeze in the radiator and a winter additive in the windscreen wash
l The vehicle should carry a basic emergency kit containing as a minimum de-icer and scraper, warning triangle in the event of a breakdown, mobile phone, torch, warm clothes, boots, blanket, a first aid kit, food and drink and a spade.