During the winter months we see a rise in road traffic accidents – almost twice as many than at any other time of the year.
As the weather gets colder, driving conditions become treacherous making it imperative that you prepare your vehicle for the months ahead.
You’d be surprised by how few SMEs have winter fleet management plans in place. However, it doesn’t take too much time or effort to put a winter policy in place.
Here are a few essential checks that you should carry out:
Is that appointment in Cornwall on a day when snow is forecast really necessary? Is public transport an option? Can the appointment be rearranged?
Try to be realistic about whether the journey is essential or could be postponed. Driving in winter can be very dangerous due to adverse weather conditions and longer periods of darkness. So the obvious decision, especially if the weather looks treacherous, should be not to drive.
You should be checking tyres regularly, regardless of the time of year, but it is even more important in the winter season. Check to see if there is adequate tread and that none of your fleet’s car tyres are near the legal limit. Whilst checking the treads, check the pressure and look for any damage such as punctures, splits or bulges.
Fitting winter tyres or snow socks to your company vehicles will not only improve braking distances but it also gives you better traction and control.
Car battery problems occur pretty frequently during bouts of cold weather, especially with older batteries. It is worth checking the batteries as soon as possible at a local garage just to be on the safe side.
Perform regular company car lighting checks to ensure that all of your bulbs, including break lights and main-beam, are in full working order. Ask your employees to wipe down car lights before setting off on any journey, and also check the indicator and fog lamps are working correctly.
Before setting off on a long journey, it’s imperative that staff check their car’s washer liquid levels to ensure that the windscreen remains clear throughout the journey. Adding a spot of de-icer or antifreeze to the liquid is also a good idea.
Break down awareness
Make sure that all of your company cars are equipped for break downs or lengthy stops in severe weather. They should all have a blanket or warm coat, a torch, a warning triangle and, most importantly, a first aid kit. It may also be a good idea for drivers to carry drinking water, food and spare fuel in case they find themselves stranded in an unfamiliar area.
CVSL Marketing Manager, Steve Black added: “Preparation is key; you must be prepared for any and every given scenario. When it comes to adverse weather conditions, you can never be too careful.”
“Check your lights, tyres and washer liquid levels on a regular basis. And before you set off on a long journey, make sure you have your essentials: bottled water, de-icer, food and something to keep you warm.”