26 September 2018

Preparing a fleet for winter in plenty of time is one of the best ways to reduce unplanned vehicle downtime and reduce the risks associated with driving in adverse weather conditions.

However, with many drivers still unsure how to cope when the roads turn icy and winter sets in, it’s important for fleet managers to ensure vehicles are safe and that all employees have the information they need to stay safe whilst on the road.

This month we take an advanced look at how fleet managers and businesses can start to prepare their fleets for winter.

Preparing your fleet vehicles for winter

Vehicle checks and maintenance

Vehicle checks and maintenance are the first step in ensuring that drivers are safe and the fleet is prepared for the winter months.

The basic checks should include the tread of the tyres (they should have a minimum of 3mm), checking that the tyres have the correct pressure and that the high-strength screen wash and anti-freeze are topped up.

One of the most common aspects of fleet safety that’s overlooked during winter is clearing the excess salt and debris from the vehicles. This can build up over time and can damage vehicles, so schedule regular washes to prevent damage or accidents.

Equip vehicles and drivers

When a fleet manager or their team are checking vehicles, one way to ensure that drivers are safe would be to install emergency packs, which can be used should a driver become stranded. These packs could include:

  • Warm clothing (such as a jacket or a fleece)
  • Gloves
  • A torch and a blanket
  • Spare batteries for the torch
  • Emergency contact information should they need to call for assistance
These emergency packs are particularly useful if the driver breaks down on a motorway and they have to leave the vehicle. They should be able to grab the emergency pack and leave and make their way to a safe location. 

Recommend remote working

In the run up to the winter months, fleet managers and their businesses may have to consider that some employees may have to work remotely, especially if they live in secluded areas that may be impacted by adverse weather and driving conditions.

Communicate safe driving techniques

As part of the fleet policy and in the run-up to the colder months, fleet managers and their team should communicate safe driving techniques to their drivers, especially if they’re going to be undertaking a lot of journeys in adverse weather conditions.

This is the ideal time to discuss any queries or concerns that drivers may have, whilst showing that the business is adhering to Duty of Care guidelines and requirements.

These communications could be via an internal newsletter, regular meetings or scheduled training sessions. However they’re undertaken, it’s important that drivers of every level within the business are informed, advised and prepared for snow, ice or rain.

Further reading

To find out more about improving fleet safety, maintaining cost flow and how to help employees with their driving habits, take a look at the articles listed below.

 

In conclusion, if preparations begin well in advance of the colder winter months, then fleet managers and their drivers are more likely to be prepared for the unforeseen.

Make sure that vehicles are checked on a regular basis, make sure that drivers are aware of safe driving techniques and above all else; make sure that everyone has the equipment they’ll need if they do get stranded.

To find out more about our fleet management and leasing, employee benefits solutions and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.