Winter Weather Tips for Drivers
When winter weather sets in and there’s heavy snow, ice and fog, the usual warnings about not driving aren’t always an option for commercial haulage drivers, lorry drivers and couriers, especially in peak trading months in the run up to Christmas. If you’re a fleet manager, now’s the time to brief all your commercial drivers and anyone who drives as part of their job. Help your drivers prepare for winter weather and to be ready to adapt their driving behaviour to suit bad weather road conditions. Encourage all your drivers to drive more slowly and more carefully than they do usually and to plan ahead, allowing slightly more time for every journey. Do your drivers know what to do if the vehicle breaks down? Do they know who to inform if the vehicle endangers other road users and needs to be removed from the road?
Check your vehicle before every journey
The size and weight of large commercial vehicles and delivery vans makes them challenging to drive and manoeuvre in bad weather. Before every journey, drivers must check that vehicle brakes and lights are functioning properly, fluids are topped up, batteries are fully charged and all tyres, including any spares are in an optimal condition.
Driving in snow and ice
Vehicles must be cleared of ice or snow. Having a clear view through the windscreen and any windows is essential. Reducing speed, avoiding harsh braking and increasing stopping distances reduces skidding risk and gives drivers time to stop safely on snowy roads. Speed limits are the maximum in ideal conditions but in bad weather, they can often be far too fast.
Driving in heavy rain
Heavy rain often means limited visibility so warn your drivers to be prepared. In driving rain, roads can be slippery and hazardous so stopping distances need to be doubled.
Driving in high winds
High-sided vehicles, especially if empty, are especially vulnerable in high winds and can even be overturned. Drivers should be mindful of flying debris, falling trees and be prepared to deal with road diversions if necessary. Avoiding bridges or viaducts may be necessary where winds can be even stronger.
Driving in fog
Fog is one of the most hazardous road conditions in winter because visibility is reduced hugely. Pile-ups are much more common in fog so using fog lights is absolutely critical and like driving in wet weather, drivers should always slow down and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
Be informed, stay safe
Changing driving behaviours to adapt to winter weather conditions on the road is crucial in reducing and preventing road accidents. To help your drivers stay on the road and stay safe this winter, make sure know exactly what to do.
There’s a more comprehensive guide here from the Driving and Vehicle Standard Agency: https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/controlling-your-lorry
At Andrew Bourne we spend time really getting to know how your commercial haulage operation works. We aim to get a thorough understanding of your business and we’re interested in helping you better manage and train your drivers and any of your staff who drive as part of their job. We can advise you about the latest technology and help you brief your support staff to ensure compliance with the latest health and safety legislation. There are many ways we can support you to improve driving standards and your processes for vetting, training and managing drivers. We work hard for you, to create a bespoke insurance solution that’s responsive to your business and supports you to manage your risks more effectively. If you’d like to speak to us, call David Crowther on 0116 272 0770.