Safe Driving in Winter

Safe Driving in Winter

In our previous blog we looked at getting your fleet ready for winter. As well as making sure your vehicles are running well and are winter road ready, fleet managers need to keep drivers updated with safe driving practices.

For most fleet managers, many months of preparation will have been made to help protect employees during this busy driving season. Driving conditions can change rapidly during adverse weather conditions, so drivers need to be prepared to remain safe and be within the law.

At Tradex we reward safe driving practices with more competitive motor trade insurance or fleet insurance premiums. Here are some areas that can help keep employees healthy and away from accidents.

Instil a Culture of Safe Practice

Covid-19 may have brought some challenges with it when it comes to face-to-face training, but it’s necessary to find a way to instil the culture of safe driving. Through video or live events, make sure drivers are aware that safety is the company’s top priority and make policies such as rewards for safe and considerate driving.

Remind drivers to allow extra time for both their daily walkarounds to safety check their vehicles and for their travel time, since both difficult weather conditions and increased traffic may slow them down during winter and especially the festive season. 

Winter Driver Training

Whilst there is much you can do to make sure your vehicles are road ready for winter, your team also needs to have training on the best way to handle their vehicle during different driving conditions. Fog, rain, high winds, snow and ice will all have their own set of challenges. This could mean behind-the-wheel training for new employees or a refresher video to help to keep drivers and other road users protected.

Sticking to the Speed Limit

With the stresses of deadlines, drivers may feel under pressure to take risks with their driving, even in poor road conditions. Fleet managers must impress on drivers the need for careful driving, even if that means they are a little late to their destination. The costs to your business of a vehicle being off the road due to an accident, the possible injury to drivers and other road users and the impact on your fleet van insurance policy will far outweigh the price of a few delayed items.

Controlling Driver Fatigue

Online shopping looks set to stay for the foreseeable future, so the pressure on all drivers to work longer shifts and travel further means most are at real threat of suffering from fatigue. Add to this the lack of daylight and poor weather conditions, a tired driver could cause a fatal accident.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), driver fatigue results in thousands of road accidents annually. It says that driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20 percent of road accidents and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents. Sadly, these types of crashes are also 50 percent more likely to result in a death or serious injury due to the risk of higher speed on impact.

As a fleet manager, it’s essential to make sure drivers take regular breaks and that they do not exceed the maximum hours allowed to drive daily. Drivers also need to be aware of the dangers of driver fatigue, the warning signs and the need to take regular breaks on route.

Telematics Technology

This can be a fleet manager’s best friend. Telematics can provide information on driver behaviour such as hard braking, over acceleration, long idling, avoidance of taking breaks and driving unsuitable routes. Correcting any unwanted driver behaviour can help them to avoid accidents, reduce stress, and undergo further training if necessary.

Drivers can also benefit from this latest tracking technology with regular information on local weather conditions and traffic up-dates, avoiding congestion and helping them to find the most efficient route for their deliveries.

Telematics can provide feedback in real-time, giving fleet managers accurate information on where drivers and vehicles are located at any given time. This helps to manage customers’ expectations when delays are expected, as well as assisting with future route planning.

Investing in telematics can also help to keep your fleet van insurance premiums down – have a chat with your local broker about the advantages telematics could bring to your business and your motor trade insurance policy.

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